Front Page

The Figures

The Licence Fee

The Reduced Licence Fee

The Licence and the Law

Criminalising Licence Evasion

The Conspiracy of Silence

Dipsy's Tale


Click HERE to see the patronising and threatening tone of TV Licensing.


The CAL Discussion Forum


Click HERE to see the Act of Law under which TV Licensing will prosecute you.




The Human Cost of the Licence Fee - the untold story

The debate about the TV Licence often centres around broadcasting standards and the wide range of choice that's now available to the viewers; but there is also a moral aspect to the TV Licence Fee that is kept hidden from the British public...

(NOTE: the facts on this page are taken from 'TV Sinners', a National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, NACAB, evidence report that came out in March 1998. This report is based on evidence supplied by 232 CABS all over the country. As a result of this report, in 1999 the government set-up an advisory board to look into the whole issue of the TV Licence. That's why there's been the recent changes to the Licence Fee - free Licences for the over 75's, 50% reduction for blind people, etc. However, these changes are purely cosmetic and are a public relations exercise. Nothing has fundamentally changed with the Licence Fee and TVL/the BBC continue to victimise the poor and disadvantaged in our society)

FACT: each year approximately 200,000 people are prosecuted for non-payment of the TV Licence

FACT: 68% of these prosecutions are against women (this is because when the TV Licence inspectors call during the day it's usually the woman who's at home)

FACT: out of the total of 200,000 prosecutions 98% result in a fine

FACT: because TV Licence evasion is a strict liability offence these cases have to be heard in a magistrates court, and the court has no compulsion to allow fines to be paid by installments

FACT: there is no compulsion on Magistrates to means test people who appear in court

FACT: if you do not pay the fine a warrent will be issued for your arrest

FACT: over the years thousands of women have been imprisoned in the United Kingdom because they were not able to pay fines imposed upon them for not having a TV Licence. Almost all of these women were on benefits and around half of them had dependent children

For a full set of official statistics, 1991-2001, showing how many people were imprisoned, fined, prosecuted, etc, see our Criminalising Television Licence Evasion page.

The propaganda put out by TV Licensing portrays TV Licence evaders as criminals and scum of the earth. The reality is, a large number of the people they prosecute are poor and disadvantaged, and every one of those 200,000 prosecutions causes stress, misery, fear, and in some cases ruined lives for the individuals concerned; and what you have to remember in all this is that it's just about the entirely harmless act of watching television. (see also Criminalising Licence Evasion)

Do you really want to live in a society that acts in such an unfair and inhuman way?


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