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18 August, 2007

Programme schedule

The very concept of needing a licence to connect and watch a television is probably bizarre to non-Brits* , but I'd never really thought about one of the scheme's further oddities.

I could understand either paying a fee up-front or maybe even after one has received the service i.e. paying in advance or in arrears, but if paying by direct debit, billing is neither, or possibly both.

The bill I received today itemises the monthly payments I've already paid on the current licence, then states that "next year's licence will then be paid over twelve months (six payments before the licence begins and six after)".

For the record, an annual licence to watch colour television currently costs £135.50.

*: Licencing does make some sense if one considers it differently: as a compulsory donation towards the operation of the BBC, and hence access to ad-free TV, radio and web services. Yes, one still has to pay if one only watches independent (ad-supported) TV channels and yes, it's permissable to access BBC Radio and the website for free if one doesn't have a TV.


yeah, it's a funny thing -- a common cry in oz is that particular-purpose tax expenditures should be segregated; that their portion of overall tax collection should be separated and collected seperately from the general Consolidated Revenue. it's strongly resisted by the public service there, on the basis it has long-term negative effects.
in the UK, it's the norm rather than an innovation. medical contributions, for example, are an entirely separate system of taxation (yet parallely (word?) imposed): "national insurance". ditto the contribution to a nationalised public broadcaster.
and you know what? i have to agree with the aussie bureaucrats -- long term, it has a negative effect.

my personal favourite aspect of the UK TV Licence Fee is that if you're blind, you get 50% off.

Posted by Saltation at August 24, 2007 12:19 AM
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