There relevant bits are as follow:
- This petition has become part of the large evidence base gathered during the public consultation held in July 2015.
- The Government acknowledges other countries’ views on Public Service Broadcasting funding models.
- The Government is still considering whether the licence fee remains the best way to fund the BBC and continue to consider recommendations regarding the enforcement process.
- The Government’s position will be set out in the White Paper.
The reply can be read in full here.
Now, this is a very wishy-washy answer at best. All references to the David Perry Review just make me hit the roof.
- First of all, David Perry relied heavily on the BBC’s response and findings.
- Secondly, he did not interview a single person who had been recently visited by a TV licence officer or prosecuted by the BBC to ask them what they think of TV licence enforcement methods. So basically, he covered only one side of the story.
Even before starting, David Perry’s premise was that the BBC offers “value for money” and the bottom line was “if decriminalisation is likely to jeopardise revenues, then the status quo should remain”.
He did not explore the following questions:
- Is keeping the licence fee down and maintaining all the current BBC services more important than the social impact of this coercive funding method?
- Can we make good television using only money freely given?
- If people overwhelmingly like the BBC as the BBC claims it does, why not switch to voluntary donations/subscription?
Finally, he recommended that more flexible payment plans be investigated, ignoring the basic problem that money is finite and that some people don’t have enough of it to cover the basics. Another recommendation is that cable and satellite companies should share their customer data with TV licensing. This is a bit rich, coming from a barrister, as he should be well aware that it implies a major breach of the data protection act.
So this is it for now but remember that the petition can be handed over again and that I will try to expose the BBC’s funding model in new rounds of FOI in due course.
In the meantime, don’t forget my other petition, on the official parliament website and while you are there, have a look at the other petitions against the BBC too.