back to article BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Parliament has rescheduled its debate on the BBC TV Tax, after it was quietly canned thanks to the UK's snap general election earlier this year. A public petition against the BBC TV Licence fee was launched after The Register revealed that notorious outsourcing firm Capita, whose door-to-door salesmen collect the tax, took 71 …

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  1. TRT Silver badge

    I have no issues with the Telly Tax

    I do have issues with employing Crapita to police it.

    1. ad47uk

      Re: I have no issues with the Telly Tax

      Well you should, because Capita is an awful company and not fit to run anything.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I have no issues with the Telly Tax

        Which is my issue.

  2. DailyLlama

    If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

    Just try watching the sh!te on the other channels, peppered by adverts, and you'll soon turn back to the Beeb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

      I'm yet to figure this one out : What if I dont watch the BBC, but I'm happy with Sky, CH4 and ITV. I'll say it again : I dont watch the BBC. Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        Okay, I'll bite... because you don't have a specially constructed television that can only receive commercial channels and is physically incapable of receiving BBC channels. And neither does anyone else. So while your principals are whiter than the driven snow, others are less so.

        Secondly, the presence of the BBC raises the standards of the other channels. Without it there would be a rush to the bottom with 3 minutes of programming per 30 minutes of adverts. Without the Beeb you wouldn't want to be watching commercial only.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          "Secondly, the presence of the BBC raises the standards of the other channels. "

          @AC how does that work ?

        2. MOV r0,r0

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          Secondly, the presence of the BBC raises the standards of the other channels. Without it there would be a rush to the bottom with 3 minutes of programming per 30 minutes of adverts.

          The 'rush to the bottom' was started by the BBC when it began chasing ratings after ITV launched in the 50's

        3. Goldmember

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          "rush to the bottom with 3 minutes of programming per 30 minutes of adverts."

          This is incorrect, actually. The ratio of ads to programming is regulated. It was increased for Sky when it launched to give it a chance of survival. A few years ago, the other providers complained and were given the same increased level (Sky's should have been decreased to match in my view, not the other way around). It's not done hourly but over a day, which is why you see more during peak evening times and fewer late at night. But the disappearance of the licence alone will not cause an increase in ad frequency.

          And oddly, as others have mentioned, the BBC almost matches commercial radio and TV in terms of ads promoting itself anyway. Radio 2 is unbearable for more than a couple of hours for me, for this very reason.

          It's definitely time for a serious discussion on the future of TVL.

        4. aks Bronze badge

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          It's nothing to do with the equipment. That's always been true, but is even clearer since they've widened the scope to include PC's and mobile. The law's always been about streaming live programs. That's now been extended to include catchup of BBC programs using iPlayer. I'm not sure how long before iPlayer is put directly behind a paywall.

          I have all the equipment, which now includes having a PC or mobile.

          I don't watch any live TV as I gave up doing that about 15 years ago and haven't had a licence during that time. I've even got the letter from TV Licencing confirming that I don't need one.

      2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        "I dont watch the BBC. Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?"

        I don't have kids. Why should I pay to educate your mongrels

        1. Defiant

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          Because those kids will be paying taxes, you've just posted an old pathetic excuse

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          I'd say that funding education for the younger generation is important. (Though British education is a joke, you'd be better off raising your kids overseas.)

          But funding TV just so people can rot their brains on crap like Jeremy Kyle? Fuck off.

      3. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        Because part of the fees go to those channels as well. Well Channel 4 anyway.

        1. aks Bronze badge

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          Channel 4 is government owned, with advertisements.

          If the BBC switched to that model, the TV Licence could disappear. They do have some ads but they only promote BBC TV, radio and events.

      4. Oddlegs

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        I find it bizarre that people are willing to pay Sky a minimum of £25 a month (and still have to watch adverts) yet complain about paying the BBC less than half that. I also have a hard job of believing that across the TV channels, iplayer, the website and radio there isn't some content to suit absolutely everyone.

        It wouldn't just be a case of scrapping the license fee, allowing advertising and everything else continuing as now. There's only so much adversiting money to go round and the BBC would be likely to hoover up most of it. ITV and C4's revenues would plummet with a corresponding drop in quality of programming. Several of the smaller channels would likely disappear altogether.

        Those campaigning to scrap the license fee should be careful what they wish for. Whilst the BBC is far from perfect the entire entertainment landscape of this country would be worse off without it.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          "I find it bizarre that people are willing to pay Sky a minimum of £25 a month (and still have to watch adverts) yet complain about paying the BBC less than half that. I also have a hard job of believing that across the TV channels, iplayer, the website and radio there isn't some content to suit absolutely everyone.

          It wouldn't just be a case of scrapping the license fee, allowing advertising and everything else continuing as now. There's only so much adversiting money to go round and the BBC would be likely to hoover up most of it. ITV and C4's revenues would plummet with a corresponding drop in quality of programming. Several of the smaller channels would likely disappear altogether.

          Those campaigning to scrap the license fee should be careful what they wish for. Whilst the BBC is far from perfect the entire entertainment landscape of this country would be worse off without it."

          Here's the thing though - with something like Sky you can record future episodes and watch them, at your leisure, skipping the adverts.

          I can series link so they all download in future.

          I can watch almost all of their offerings on a number of device types - not just for a few days or weeks after they broadcast and once I've recorded something to my box, I can actually (should I so desire) keep it ad infinitum.

          Now perhaps I am being unfair to the iPlayer and it can do all of that but I rarely use it.

          I love the comedy half hour on R4 between 6:30 and 7:00pm - not everything (some of it is utter shite, to be honest, but most of it is worthy of a chuckle) but you try and find something over about 30 days old on average. Nope. Not usually happening.

          You're paying Sky or Virgin (or if you prefer a LOT less to Amazon or Netflix) for a much wider choice of channels than you get from the BBC, even taking radio into account. And some of the quality on them is truly outstanding (Halt and Catch Fire, on Amazon or Rick and Morty on NetFlix anyone? Just two outstanding examples)

          And let's not forget that, like all of the other channels, the BBC do have some utter race-to-the-bottom crap on there as well.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

            Here's the thing though - with something like Sky you can record future episodes and watch them, at your leisure, skipping the adverts.

            I can series link so they all download in future.

            ...

            and once I've recorded something to my box, I can actually (should I so desire) keep it ad infinitum.

            Wow! You pay Sky £25+ pcm just for that - Humax Freeview PVR's have been able to do that since circa 2003...

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          "

          I find it bizarre that people are willing to pay Sky a minimum of £25 a month (and still have to watch adverts) yet complain about paying the BBC less than half that.

          "

          If people spent £250 a week on a weekly shop at Waitrose, would you similarly see nothing wrong with demanding that they also give £100 a week to Sainsbury even though they never enter the place?

          Makes about as much sense.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

            If people spent £250 a week on a weekly shop at Waitrose, would you similarly see nothing wrong with demanding that they also give £100 a week to Sainsbury even though they never enter the place?

            Well if Waitrose stocked all of Sainbury's lines as well as their own, for which I only paid a handling charge within my £250 weekly bill in the expectation that I was also giving £100 a week to Sainsbury's then I wouldn't see anything wrong.

            Remember Sky doesn't pay the BBC, it is required to carry and distribute (ie. 'handle') the BBC (and the other Freeview?) channels on it's infrastructure to all of it's UK subscribers...

        3. jasper pepper

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          Who are you to tell me what is best for me? You (and I) may find people paying Sky a strange, even irrational choice but the thing is it is their choice.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          "There's only so much adversiting money to go round and the BBC would be likely to hoover up most of it."

          And that's already a problem hence the result of the lobbying by the commercial broadcasters to get the limits on advert breaks changed from a maximum length and maximum minutes per hour, to the same totals averaged out of 24 hours. This has lead to breaks of 5 minutes or more during peak times and sometimes no actual ads at all beyond midnight, just short trailer breaks. Bear in mind that this means that shows that used to fit in an hour with two or three three minute breaks now have at least three five minute breaks. New shows may be written that way, but older shows get cut to ribbons. And don't get me started on the channels to schedule ad breaks by computer and have been known to put an ad break in the middle of an actors sentence!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        So we can.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        Because soon Sky, Ch4, ITV etc. will become pay per view and it will be more than 50p per day per channel.

      7. Cody

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        You should pay the tax for the same reason that you pay other similar taxes.

        The BBC is one supplier of TV services among many, but it is one that the government has chosen to make everyone pay for whether they want to or not.

        In the same way, you cannot buy the Guardian without paying the newspaper tax, the proceeds of which fund the public service newspaper, the Daily Telegraph.

        You cannot shop at Tesco without paying the supermarket access fee, and having a license ready to display if challenged, and of course the proceeds of this go to the public service supermarket Waitrose.

        It is universal in British life that there is one service provider among many, and that to use any of the services, you have to have a license for which you pay a fee, and this fee goes to one of the providers.

        Take cars, for instance. You pay a road tax, you have to, in order to be permitted to drive. Well, the proceeds go to the public service car manufacturer, Rover, or rather, nowadays, to its successor and purchaser BMW.

        Why do you think broadcasting should be any different? Its the same in all other areas of life. You cannot even buy an adult men's magazine without paying a tax to have the right to read magazines, and the fees are paid to the public service men's magazine, I forget its title now, not being an aficionado of these publications....

        Now people sometimes object. They say, why should I pay Waitrose for the privilege of being allowed to shop at Tesco?

        Let me explain to you all once again. Waitrose is a public service supermarket. its just like the roads or the national health service or defence or the police. And its excellent value too. Just the Waitrose olive oil alone is worth the supermarket license fee. And competition from a public service supermarket makes Tesco so much better. Let me tell you, without it, you would not want to shop at Tesco who would be free to supply nothing but mouldy and past sell date goods.

        You wouldn't want that, would you?

        I hope this makes it all clear. it is very basic, so basic that people sometimes forget and think that there is something special about the way we fund the BBC. Well, let me tell you, there is not. it is absolutely normal and standard and permitted by the EU, so it must be all right.

        1. Gerry 3
          Thumb Up

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          Brilliant ! But watch out, the Ministry of Food will pop round to invalidate your Ration Book...

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

      Worth the licence fee for Radio 4 alone

      1. Jim 59

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        It's worth it for This Week alone. Radio 4 makes many intelligent people want to throw their radio into the garden.

      2. ad47uk

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        i listen to two things on radio four, both panel shows and that is it, I would not pay the TV tax for that, anyway, radio is free to listen to, no need to pay TV tax.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

      I don't watch the BBC or any of the other channels, mostly YouTube, and I still get pestered by them.

    4. Jim 59

      Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

      "Just try watching the sh!te on the other channels, peppered by adverts, and you'll soon turn back to the Beeb."

      If only that were still true, DailyLlama. Unfortunately, all BBC programmes are seperated buy long avertising cycles, on both TV and radio. On radio, news programmes are also routinely interrupted, sometimes every 8 ot 10 minutes, for a short advertising slot. The ads themselves are usually for future BBC programs, or just promoting the BBC itsellf. Just adverts for themselves, no more.

      It is quite tragic for the Beeb. They have killed their own biggest advantage over commercial rivals, and shown how little they think of viewers and listeners by targeting them with anoying advertorial that isn't even needed for commercial survival.

      And now here is the soft music, and that honeyed voice intones, for the 11th time, about that forthcoming Radio 4 programme that you have no interest in...

      1. DailyLlama

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        "If only that were still true, DailyLlama. Unfortunately, all BBC programmes are seperated buy long avertising cycles, on both TV and radio. On radio, news programmes are also routinely interrupted, sometimes every 8 ot 10 minutes, for a short advertising slot. The ads themselves are usually for future BBC programs, or just promoting the BBC itsellf. Just adverts for themselves, no more."

        That's fine, I have no issue with that, but I can't stand watching a program where the titles run, then there's an ad break. You get 10-15 minutes of action, then another ad break, then another 10-15 minutes of action, and another ad break, then a final ad break before the credits roll. What kind of way is that to watch anything?

      2. Steve 114

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        Even applies to Radio 3 ('The Third Programme') which is nowadays infested by irrelevant music clips that fade annoyingly into smug voiceovers advertising another programme altogether. Just play the music, folks!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

      No adverts seems to be the only justification for me having to pay an unfair tax.

      I don't watch the BBC because they don't make tv aimed at me.

      There are proven non advertising based channels out there like Netflix and hbo. You need a TV to watch them but owning a TV in the UK is equated to needing a licence/watching the beeb... And don't get me started on how much you get hassled when you don't have a TV atall... It's inconceivable to them that lots of us just ditched the whole damn lot over this ridiculous tax!

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

        Same reason that some of your taxes fund the roads even if you don't drive, the health service even when you're not poor and education though you're not a child.

        This isn't a subscription service, it's a tax to fund a public broadcaster.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

          "Same reason that some of your taxes..."

          Well, it's all priorities really isn't it. Me, I don't think Antiques Road Trip or Homes under the Hammer are public spending priorities. I'm gonna go out on a limb here : Roads, health, and education are. The state should not be providing entertainment. Private companies can do that just fine.

          Edit : And irony of ironies, stuff that the state should provide, like Trains, Water, Power etc. are provided by private companies!

        2. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

          "taxes fund the roads"

          You don't have to use roads to significantly benefit from them. Others watching the BBC is no benefit to me, actually the opposite. The country would benefit from not being exposed to the lefty biased and low quality crap the BBC news service spews.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

              Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

              "Freeview content, albeit free, is of a much lower standard than the BBC"

              Interesting comment. Have you any idea how many Freeview channels are owned or the material sourced from the BBC?

              Add the Sky and the "Wallet Opening Channels" of all types and that's basically it ...

              When UK Gold was launched I thought is was such an incredible marketing strategy to endlessly repeat repeats ... then they managed to completely trump the idea with Dave ... then incredibly Dave+1, Dave JaVu and probably other such channels as "Dave+365", "Isn't there something on Dave?" and "Dara Never Grows Old on Dave"

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

            "lefty biased"

            Left ------ BBC ----- Right

            Anyone with half a brain can work it out.

            1. CustardGannet

              Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

              Anyone with half a brain can work it out

              Unfortunately, the Daily Heil types who think that the BBC is a hotbed of Marxism are lucky if they have 5% of a brain, never mind 50%.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

            "the lefty biased and low quality crap the BBC news service spews."

            ....aaaaand cue the complainant claiming the BBC if biased to the right :-)

        3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

          "

          Same reason that some of your taxes fund the roads even if you don't drive, the health service even when you're not poor and education though you're not a child.

          "

          The HUGE difference being that the roads, education and health benefit everyone either directly or indirectly - and furthermore are necessary in our society, while a TV channel benefits only those who choose to watch it and society would function perfectly well without it.

          1. Gerry 3
            Thumb Up

            Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

            Another difference is that the essentials of education and healthcare can involve significant outlay at the times when they are needed, so a state scheme funded by taxation smooths the peaks and trough and makes it affordable for everyone all the time.

            In contrast, PAYG TV is completely realistic because it's affordable. I don't like Murdoch, but at least you can choose whether to subscribe to watch his rubbish and he doesn't come banging on your door or send you to jail if you don't pay.

        4. Defiant

          Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?

          CH4 is a public service, wakey wakey

        5. Fihart

          Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee? @sabroni

          "This isn't a subscription service, it's a tax to fund a public broadcaster."

          If it's a tax, levy it on a scale like income tax.

          Instead of charging viewers indiscriminately, regardless of ability to pay.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee? @sabroni

            Like vehicle tax?

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

        "There are proven non advertising based channels out there like Netflix and hbo. You need a TV to watch them but owning a TV in the UK is equated to needing a licence/watching the beeb."

        No you don't...

        You need a license to receive broadcast TV (Cable/Sattellite/Terrestrial) or iPlayer streaming.

        Other streaming services do not need a TVL.

        I have spent several years ignoring the TVL letters sent to me on a ridiculously frequent basis...

        1. MOV r0,r0

          Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

          I have spent several years ignoring the TVL letters sent to me on a ridiculously frequent basis...

          If the frequency starts to bother you, just answer one. I now get just one email every four years which I think simply exists for people to perjure themselves should they get caught out.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

            The frequency doesn't bother me, I simply refuse to make any form of contact when it will (A) cost in terms of postage, or phone call, and (B) does not guarantee anything to stop them turning up to "inspect my home".

            So they will (again) get a "go away" comment if they should turn up and wake me again, the same as the last 2 times. A few times a year they tell me they will visit on some date (within 2 weeks) but shockingly, they never do. I would love them to make the appointment so I can charge them 500 quid for me taking time from my consultancy work to be home that just for them to "inspect".

            NB 500 quid was plucked from thin air... I once charged 1500 for about 15 minutes work (and the client was happy, as I saved them thousands, hence the large fee).

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