Introduced in 1923, more than 25 million UK TV owners pay the annual license fee that fund the BBC’s television and radio operations. Non-payment is considered a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine. As other European nations move away from mandatory license fees, should the UK government follow suit?
No, the license should not be mandatoryShow moreShow less
The BBC license fee surmounts to a regressive tax that disproportionately affects poor households, for a service that not everyone makes use of.
Administering a license fee at a flat rate of £154.50 per year makes it a larger burden on poorer households.
A flat license fee is a regressive tax, meaning it disproportionately affects poor households. For a wealthy household, £154.50 is loose change, but for poor households, it makes up a sizeable amount of the monthly outgoings.
To make the license fairer, it could be administered progressively. It could be tied to the annual household income and see poorer households pay less while wealthier households pay more.
This isn’t an argument against the fee being mandatory. It is merely an argument against the fees structure. It would be easy to build a more progressive fee system that is more fairly administered that is still mandatory.
[P1] The license fee is regressive and disproportionately impacts poor households.
[P2] Regressive taxes and fees are unjust.
[P3] Therefore, the license should not be mandatory.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P1] This is not an argument against a mandatory license fee.