argument top image

Should the BBC license be mandatory? Show more Show less
Back to question

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 mandatory Show more Show less

The BBC license fee surmounts to a regressive tax that disproportionately affects poor households, for a service that not everyone makes use of.
< (2 of 2)

The TV license is unpopular

The public does not like the mandatory license fee that goes to the BBC.


Some licenses and taxes are generally acceptable to the public. Any money spent on the NHS, for example, is often welcomed. But the BBC license fee is not popular.

The Argument

Three-quarters of Britons want the license fee abolished. This is not merely because the public resents paying license fees and taxes. The public is generally supportive of taxes that it deems worthy. It is because they perceive the license fee as a waste of money.[1]

Counter arguments

There are many government-funded products or services that the taxpayers don’t like. That doesn’t mean that people can just not pay them. The license fee pays for a national institution which offers a high standard of reporting. It is not up to the public to determine whether or not they should pay.



[P1] Under a democracy, only policies which have the majority of public backing should be considered. [P2] The mandatory license does not have the majority of the public's backing. [P3] Therefore, it should be scrapped.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Not every single expenditure or public service needs to have majority support among the public to be democratic.




Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Monday, 30 Mar 2020 at 09:39 UTC

Explore related arguments