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?
Yes, the BBC license should be mandatory
The BBC provides a non-excludable service of public good and could only function in its current form through a mandatory license fee.
A mandatory license fee supports minority tastes
Without a mandatory license fee, the BBC would be unable to produce programs that appeal to niche interests and ethnic and religious minorities.
The BBC license fee surmounts to a regressive tax that disproportionately affects poor households, for a service that not everyone makes use of.
The BBC doesn’t account for the majority of TV
With more channels and new ways of watching tv flooding the market, the BBC is no longer the main provider of television content. Yet the rising license fee forces all Britons to pay more into a system that they use the least.
A mandatory fee is only useful if everybody actually pays it. There is no legal and practical way to enforce the license fee, so it’s up to choice whether people pay it or not. Therefore, it's pointless to make a license fee mandatory.