Thousands slapped with hefty fine for failing to pay their TV licence, here’s how much you’ll be charged

The UK’s most vulnerable are being harshly punished for failing to pay.

TV licence fine
© Jonas Leupe / UNSPLASH
TV licence fine

A recent investigation has revealed that nearly 130 individuals are facing prosecution every day for failing to pay their TV licence in the UK. Shockingly, some of the most vulnerable members of society, including those suffering from serious medical conditions, are being convicted and fined.

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Concerns are equally being raised about the lack of transparency in the court process over the potential for miscarriages of justice. Let’s have a look at how much people are being fined and who is worst affected.

How much you could be fined

Thousands of individuals have been convicted and subjected to hefty fines as a result of prosecutions initiated by the BBC. An alarming number of these cases involve individuals who are struggling with severe medical conditions like dementia and cancer. Despite these serious health issues, they face fines of up to £1,000.

Critics are worried that these financial penalties disproportionately impact the poorest members of society who are already struggling to make ends meet. This is only set to get worse, given that the TV licence will increase in April 2024, with a new yearly price of £169.50. Legal experts have expressed worries over an alarming similarity to the miscarriage of justice witnessed in the Post Office controversy.

Who is worst affected?

Investigations by Talk TV revealed numerous cases heard in secret courts, where failure to pay the TV licence fee has become the most common crime in the country - surpassing even motoring offenses. Critics argue that closed courtrooms lack transparency and fairness and, to give you an idea, the Ministry of Justice recorded 47,622 prosecutions and 44,106 convictions for non-payment in the year ending June 2022.

Legal documents from Talk TV's investigation exposed the prosecution of seriously ill individuals who pleaded with the court but were rejected. Former Chief of the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Ken Macdonald, called for independent prosecutors to handle criminal cases instead of the BBC, emphasizing the need for separation between corporate and prosecutorial interests:

I think all criminal prosecutions should be brought by the independent prosecutor - The Crown Prosecution Service. We saw what happened in the Post Office

With the fee increase set for April, there are hopes that a move will be made to protect the UK’s most vulnerable against being too harshly punished for not paying their TV licence.

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Sources used:

The Sun: TV WOES Nearly 130 people each DAY are being prosecuted for not paying TV licence as most vulnerable unable to defend themselves

BBC: BBC funding: TV licence fee to rise by £10.50, government says

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