August 26, 2008

The TV Licence is Well Past Its Sell-By Date and Really Should Be Scrapped


I HAD to look twice to make sure I was not dreaming when I read the letter entitled "Sign up to TV licence service for students" (Voice of the North, August 12) in which Charlotte Hancock of TV Licensing effectively suggested that students, left to their own devices, are potentially a bunch of licence-avoiding crooks.

These people live in another world that is long past its sell-by date. This the only country I'm aware of that pays a tax to watch television, and a very small part of it to boot.

Back in the Dark Ages, when we only had BBC1, this was probably okay as they performed what they thought was an "essential" service and had no competition. In the 21st Century things are very different, with hundreds of channels and a number of operators.

Increasingly, younger people are looking to the internet for entertainment. Even the diminishing few who watch only terrestrial television must surely be aware the TV licence is only for the BBC, not ITV.

This tax-office-by-any-other-name spends large amounts of our money on keeping its staff in a job. By putting segments of BBC programmes on the internet, it can no doubt claim that because you have a computer, you can receive BBC even if you don't have a TV and get their money that way.

In no other walk of life would we accept this.

It's about time someone took it upon themselves to get this outdated tax scrapped, once and for all.

What makes the BBC any different to any other station in 2008? Why should they continue to be handed money on a plate when others have to fend for themselves?

PETER SCARGILL, Wark on Tyne, Northumberland

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