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. MOV r0,r0

        Re: Sigh

        Since PC is cheaper, sells vastly less number of units, where the PC has an open and diverse architecture which can cause more work to ensure the games works on it, then the PC target is already subsidised ?

        You overlooked the console title resale value in you calculations Shadmeister.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      "no longer being a tax and being subscription instead"

      Because as you know it would have to be much more expensive.

      In some ways I do not object to publicly funded broadcasting, most of the costs are fixed which makes it really cheap when spread across a large subscription base. So cheap it is almost trivial or at least considered a bargain. The problem I have with the BBC is it is run by twats who were appointed by twats. We pay for it but get almost no say in what it produces or how it is run.

      I would like to see the BBC run by a board of say 10,000 license holders selected at random.

      1. TheTick

        Re: Sigh

        "Because as you know it would have to be much more expensive."

        Which is what my follow up point was about. They want people who don't watch BBC to pay so that they spend less. Don't we all want other people to pay for our stuff? Most of us don't get to threaten people with jail unless they comply though.

        Note: I don't pay the telly tax and we don't miss it in our household one bit. Advert free Netflix and Prime are top notch.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        >> The problem I have with the BBC is it is run by twats who were appointed by twats.

        Cohen has gone!

      3. BongoJoe Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        I would like to see the BBC run by a board of say 10,000 license holders selected at random.

        I wouldn't like to be the one handing out the bisuits for that board meeting...

    2. Seajay#

      Re: Sigh

      The reason many people don't mind paying the licence fee is the lack of adverts. But that's not the reason we have the licence fee. We have it because it provides a public good; an independent, high quality source of news. That benefits everyone because it allows public debates to start from a shared understanding of reality. That means better community relations and better election results. So it even benefits those who never watch TV. The entertainment shows are there mostly because you need to keep your audience engaged so that they are watching for the important bits and to provide economies of scale.

      The BBC is worth it not for ad free entertainment but to save us from Fox News.

      You playing console games doesn't provide that which is why there is no console tax.

      1. TheTick

        Re: Sigh

        "You playing console games doesn't provide that which is why there is no console tax."

        Many of us do not believe the BBC provides what you say it does, it is not independent, especially from politics, because the charter comes up for renewal every now and then. Also it is not a public good because everything the BBC does can and is provided by private sector businesses, and I am excluded from watching it when I don't pay the licence (as I don't).

        You may prefer the BBC but it isn't a public good. That argument is about 50 years out of date (since ITV started anyway).

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    Adverts...

    ...is the reason I don't mind the telly tax. Crapita sending out hence men/women is the problem (although I've only ever seen men attempt to collect on the YouTube videos).

    Fly to America a watch some of their channels with the adverts. Lets take a show like Friends for example:

    An advert before, then the small segment before the credits, then an advert, then the credits, then another advert, then the first half, then the adverts and so on.

    I like the BBC due to no fing adverts.

    1. Oddlegs

      Re: Adverts...

      You forgot the adverts in banners over the top of the actual program

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have no problems with the BBC, I just don't watch it

    I do have problems with is the idea of people turning up at my door bullying me, if the BBC is so good then it should be able to survive without such pressure tactics.

    Lots of people reading this post will automatically assume that I am watch the TV without paying for a license and there in lies the problem. I am not, I have a license to avoid being hassled however the BBC content is IMHO biased rubbish with far too much influence upon the general public. Having seen the "paint your house and make it worth five times as much" programs and the resultant, soon to burst, housing bubble then I would say the cost of the BBC is too high even if your don't buy a license.

    Compare the BBC with say Netflix where I can purchase a months worth of viewing without adverts and without anyone banging upon my door if I don't buy it again next month and all for less than a months worth of TV license. Netflix, I might add, also create their own content and I would say their content quality is higher than the BBC's offerings.

    As to SKY/Murdock I would ban any monopoly on content, without the monopoly then I could buy Netflix in the UK and get the full offering rather than just what the monopoly has missed. People who like sport (god help them) could watch it for a reasonable price. without the monopoly the price for quality content would start coming down to match the reality that production is actually cheaper now than ever before. Without all the people who leech between the artist and the viewer then everything would be better value and stop funding the corruption of our politicians.

  3. tiggity Silver badge

    Selective

    Things I am interested in get recorded on PVR, when I have chance they get watched (this could be much later as I just flick on something whilst eting a meal but don't spend whole evening watching a screen as have a life).

    Looking at the sort of things I have recorded & yet to watch the vast majority are BBC4 & C4, so no issues with licence.

    Obviously peoples views on what is good telly differ - lots of dross on all channels & I would prefer if BBC spent less on "[rime time" junk such as celeb dancing, singing competitions, dreary soaps etc that should (IMHO) be outside of BBC remit, but I am aware some people love that sort of thing so there you go.

    iPlayer does have a great back catalogue of art related stuff (probably not much el Reg crossover interest there!) and other "non mainstraem" stuff, so worth investigating

  4. Confused Vorlon

    It is really easy to opt out now

    It used to be painful, and you got endless letters asking if you might 'be mistaken' and threatening the tv inspectors.

    Now, you fill in a simple form, and re-confirm every two years. You get one letter confirming that you have opted out and reminding you what that means.

    Frankly it is all very civilised.

    (for the record, I don't watch live tv over the air, or over internet)

    1. bob405

      Re: It is really easy to opt out now

      I would urge caution with this approach. All it meant for me was I that I then received intimidating letters with my name on it, rather than "occupier". Additionally they still want to search your property for telly receiving equipment or other "evidence". Capita are not to be trusted and you have no obligation to deal with them.

    2. Gerry 3
      Boffin

      Re: It is really easy to opt out now

      There is no obligation whatsoever to communicate with TV Licensing: they imply that you have to tell them if you don't need a licence but that's not the case. Similarly, they have no right of entry except in the unlikely event that they have a valid search warrant. And mere possession of a TV in the UK does not require a licence, it's how you use it that counts.

      However, if you don't have a licence you'll be hounded with ever increasing ferocity. If so, a letter (from 'The Occupier') withdrawing their Implied Right of Access and threatening action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 works wonders, and they will leave you alone for ever, not just two years.

  5. jason 7

    I switched off my Freeview box a few weeks ago...

    ....don't watch iPlayer either. I really should cancel that licence.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not a Tax

    This is not a “tax”, you have no obligation to pay it, watching live broadcast television is not mandatory. I do not have a TV, and the whole concept of wasting hours of time watching whatever shite happens to be getting beamed into my house every evening seems very strange.

    Clearly the future is not live broadcast television, and that’s been the case for many years. As such, the TV License is an archaic and not fit for purpose piece of legislation and requires overhauled to reflect the modern consumption model. Even at that, I don’t have Virgin Media or Sky sending thugs to my house to try and strong arm me into buying their services. They take the very simple measure of encrypting their services. The BBC on the other hand beams its entire content across the airwaves and internet then makes the arrogant assumption that people not paying for their services are criminals.

    If you intend to be legally license free, simply ignore all correspondence from Capita. Close the door on them if they call. Do not give them your name or any details. DO NOT allow them into your home or give them an opportunity to find “evidence”. They have no legal powers and you have no obligation to engage with them at any level. Successful prosecutions are nearly always due gullible people being tricked by the thug on the doorstep into self-incriminating.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capita are bullys

    10 years paying a licence and one month we were unaware that the direct debit missed due to being overdrawn. Capita came out during work hours and bullied my wife in to 1. Saying she watched a few programs on iPlayer and 2. getting her credit card out to pay for another year including the missed month backlog.

    A month later a summons arrived with the goon stating that he had tested the apparatus and confirms it was used for watching TV while not holding a licence (which was actually a lie as the ariel was unplugged for rewiring and he wasn't allowed over the doorstep)

    The court in question was over 60 miles away despite living within 4 miles of a nearer magistrates court so to take the day off work to fight the case wouldn't really have been worth it so I opted to pay the £250 fine despite no law being broken and then cancelled my licence and made sure for the following 6 years that I legally did not need a licence, I also convinced a handful of other people I know to do the same so I guess I have made my money back and stung them in the wallet a bit but what a bunch of robber barons capita are and what underhanded tactics.

    If the summons had not arrived with a pack of lies I would simply have continued paying my licence as I used to think it was worth it. Only the bullying changed my mind.

  8. Pangasinan Philippines

    And here in Manila

    TV programs are peppered with adverts, sometimes up to 15 minutes (10 minutes is normal) and more than one break an hour. Often ads are repeated in the same break.

    Adverts here are so 70's.Very in your face with product name repeated over and over.

    Mostly milk products and washing detergent.

    I haven't seen UK TV for over two years and don't miss it. BBC radio two is my friend.

    Up votes to all who correctly spelt 'Licence' and not the US version (they don't have telly tax also)

  9. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Ahh ... the great BBC Telly license comments ....

    Lets go through the set, canned responses:

    'BBC - best in the world'

    No its not. It ws OK back in the 70s when noone, anywhere had much choice.

    Netflix + Amazon are serving BBC its arse on a platter a the moment.

    BBC dramas have been terrible.

    ITV is beating the BBC down on drama.

    BBC just puts out thin drivel, derived on whats been popular on ITV (some Downton Abbey ripoff), a comedy where they lifted the cast of CH4's Inbetweeners, GoT (some draongy historical thing that noone watched.

    'no aderts/adverts all the time..'

    Have yo watched the BBC? Every break has an ad for another BBC program or paying he TV license FFS.

    'Only <50p> a day.'

    Netflix and Amazon are cheaper.

    Can I discount my netflix fee from the BBC license?

    The hard truth is that the only people in my family who watch the BBC for anything more than 10 minutes a day are my parents, who get a free license.

    My kids dont watch broad telly. Netflix or Youtube.

    I watch ITV about 5h/week.

    BBC - 0, zilch, nadder.

    Being northern, I dont like soaps about cockenees.

    I dont like dancing, so that come dancing thing not an appeal.

    If I want to watch Dr Who Ill buy the DVD.

    What the BBC does to be good as is keeping a load of drivelling, public school types in middle management jobs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anything that gets rid of EastEnders is fine by me.

      No wonder this country is depressed if it watches that rubbish.

  10. TVU Silver badge

    "BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date"

    Are these whingeing petitioners the same permanently angry curmudgeons who also voted for Brexit?

  11. scrubber
    Pirate

    All encompassing flat tax

    Since it covers iPlayer shouldn't we add the tax license to all mobile and broadband subscriptions too?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: All encompassing flat tax

      "Since it covers iPlayer shouldn't we add the tax license to all mobile and broadband subscriptions too?"

      If you watch iPlayer live or catchup via mobile or BB then you need a licence already, even if you don't have a TV. That new clause came in last year and was widely publicised. It even got an article all of it's own on this very website. And before you mention it, no, you don't need a licence to own or use a TV. You just need a licence to watch or record "live" or "near live" broadcast tv or live/catchup iPlayer, whatever the device used to watch it on.

      1. scrubber

        Re: All encompassing flat tax

        I know, but you miss the point. If I don't watch BBC but do watch other live broadcasts I need to pay for the BBC, couldn't the same logic apply to the internet and iPlayer? i.e. I don't watch iPlayer but I do use other internet services so I should pay for iPlayer.

  12. blue31767

    Why should I pay.

    I haven't watched anything from the bbc for years. Nothing they broadcast has any interest for me. I am not interested in any sport. I watch Netflix, when not watching Netflix I am gaming, I have never used any catch up programmes, they are available on my Xbox but would use up precious memory space. I don't listen to the radio either, not even when driving.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why should I pay.

      "I watch Netflix,"

      Last time I watched Netflix, about year or so ago on a free 6 month subscription, it was almost entirely US and BBC shows. The final month of the free 6 months didn't get used, we'd seen everything of interest. Has it improved in the last year or so?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why should I pay.

        >Has it improved in the last year or so?

        No

  13. BongoJoe Silver badge
    Trollface

    How to shut them up

    After being continually pestered, i.e. threatened, for not having a licence despite not having a television in the house I decided to respond to them and turn the tables on them.

    So I rang up the number in Darlington that was on the top of the very red and angry looking letter and asked the lady, "Can you see our address on your screen?"

    "Yes"

    "Right, where we live we're right at the end of the Llŷn Peninsula. We can't receive any UK terrestial signal and we don't have Sky or anything else like that. In fact, the only television signal we can receive is from the Republic of Ireland, which we can see on a clear day. Could you clarify who we should pay for our licence; yourselves or those in Ireland?"

    "Er, we'll get back to you."

    They didn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to shut them up

      >Right, where we live we're right at the end of the Llŷn Peninsula.

      Great campsite there at Aberdaron.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Don't call it a tax

    You'll only give the Treasury ideas. They'll call it a hypothecated tax. Who would want such a tax with such a nasty name? So much nicer to just take it into general taxation and then HMG can fund the Beeb directly....

    The licence may not be an ideal way of funding the Beeb, especially when operated by Crapita, but the alternatives - ads or direct government control - are much, much worse.

    1. Gerry 3
      Facepalm

      Re: Don't call it a tax

      You've forgotten the really obvious alternative - subscription.

      No ads, no direct government control.

  15. Anonymous Coward
  16. Alt C

    Its odd - I had thought this being an IT site it would be populated by reasonably intelligent people instead I see commentards (particulaly on the right for some reason) spouting off about the bias of the BBC.

    I've friends on both sides of the fence and they both complain about the bias in the BBC which to me suggests they are getting it pretty much spot on.

    I was also brought up to challenge my own beliefs and that everyone puts a spin on things - so I get news from the BBC, Sky, C4 and Fox - and I find ideas that are valid on all of them - perhaps if you regard channel n as biased you could challenge your own beliefs and watch it a bit - you never know you may find some interesting ideas in there - unless of course you know your views are so pure and correct anything else is wrong and has nothing to offer you?

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ Alt C

      "Its odd - I had thought this being an IT site it would be populated by reasonably intelligent people instead I see commentards (particulaly on the right for some reason) spouting off about the bias of the BBC."

      You thought them intelligent until they disagreed with you. How nice of you. Actually witnessing such bias not good enough for you? My favourite example being the buck that was shot and discarded at the side of the road by some uncaring hunter. The story was vastly rewritten by the end of the day (same article being edited without pointing out the huge changes) to a fully licensed legal shoot with good reason.

      My second amusement being the constant articles supporting wind farms and the fantastical figures for a considerable time. Eventually and late to the party the BBC finally wrote a pathetic article just about accepting they dont produce as much energy as quoted.

      "unless of course you know your views are so pure and correct anything else is wrong and has nothing to offer you?"

      See your argument of assuming people are unintelligent because they disagreed with you.

      1. Alt C

        Re: @ Alt C

        @codejunky

        On the contrary not once did I say those who disagree with me were unintelligent. I relish discussions with those who disagree with me, especially these back and forths we sometimes have.

        Back when I went to university deep in the mists of time, those of us studying science were obliged to take courses in philosophy and ethics - one of the things we were taught was to always question our beliefs and not let them blind us - in this case just because you see bias in a news outlet you still need to examine it and use it to question where your thoughts come from lest you become blind to alternate ideas and fall into the trap of purity of thought - c.f confirmation bias and Dunning–Kruger effect.

        I was just surprised so many here who are obviously well educated would be so dismissive of any source of information that didn't agree with their own internal bias

        Yes I disagree with the BBC stance on windmills but that led me onto challenging my beliefs on why they won't work and indeed I found out there is some interesting work going on on energy storage that may make them more viable - not the panacea the greens think they are but not a complete dead donkey in the right energy mix.

        Please don't go down the road of 'oh let's use this example to show bias I can do the same with all news sites - they all have an agenda to push - if you wish to see a right wing example of articles being changed on a daily basis or pulled completely without noting any change look at the Daily Mail website for a week.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @ Alt C

          "On the contrary not once did I say those who disagree with me were unintelligent"

          I had thought this being an IT site it would be populated by reasonably intelligent people instead

          My mistake? Maybe I misinterpreted that?

          "I relish discussions with those who disagree with me, especially these back and forths we sometimes have"

          I am glad to hear. Same here.

          "Please don't go down the road of 'oh let's use this example to show bias"

          Clear examples which very much held the BBC's bias. Such bias being unquestioning belief in certain renewables and the more questionable climate claims when it was the fashion and a severe incapability to think concerning firearms. Anything can be disproved if we exclude evidence.

          "if you wish to see a right wing example of articles being changed on a daily basis or pulled completely without noting any change look at the Daily Mail website for a week."

          I really dont want to see a right wing example, nor left. This is concerning what some people still somehow believe to be an impartial news source that should be allowed to charge people who dont use nor even care about their service. I dont read the Daily Mail nor do I care about their views. I dont hold anything against people who read it just as I have no problem with people who read the Guardian. I also accept that to get the full picture we often have to look at multiple sources with their own bias (that we must acknowledge) to get the full picture.

          However pointing out the bias of others does not negate the bias of the one we are discussing. I used to like reading the Stephanie Flanders articles and Robert Peston and a few others. And on topics with no major swinging allegiance the BBC can be good at reporting. But when the BBC has a strong cultural bias on the subject it starts spouting like a propaganda site.

  17. Vetis

    Amazon prime (7.99) and netflix (7.49) together = 185 a year. TV license is £145. But with those I also get amazon music, unlimited free delivery, twitch prime. Its so much better value. The BBC seems to be mostly light\reality entertainment, cop shows, news and panel quiz shows. Its only surviving now because of nostalgia for what it used to put out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Amazon prime video really doesn't have that much content.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @vetis

      "Amazon prime (7.99) and netflix (7.49) together = 185 a year" why would you

      a) have both

      b) watch them every month

      If you really waste that much time on watching video then you need to swap them each month, netflix won't mind. I can go weeks before I find myself with a block of time and a need to vegetate then you can take a month of whichever distributor and cancel it so it doesn't charge you for the next month. If they have more content that you can watch then you might consider taking another month, again they won't have a problem with you changing your mind.

      Here is the thing, you are in control of what and when you watch and you also control when you are willing to pay to watch.

      This control is what you do not get with the BBC, instead you get a percentage of stuff you are willing to watch and far more stuff that you can't stand and yet you still have to pay for it otherwise or some Crapita **** bangs on the door demanding your attention.

      How dare I put myself first,I have a duty to maintain the BBC? screw that, it is my hard earned money and I will spend it upon what I want rather that what they are trying to foist upon me. If they want my money then they need to provide something I am willing to pay for and not 5% of the time but at least 95%. That is what their competition are offering and they offer cheap rubbish made by amateurs instead

  18. poopoo

    Thirty years without TV and I am still getting threatening letters. If I want them to stop I simply have to take the time to give them my data. GIVE them my data. I thought demanding money with menaces was a crime but not if you are part of "the establishment", it seems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I bet they use Equifax to cross check you.

    2. aks

      "Thirty years without TV and I am still getting threatening letters. If I want them to stop I simply have to take the time to give them my data. GIVE them my data. I thought demanding money with menaces was a crime but not if you are part of "the establishment", it seems."

      On moving into my rented house and receiving a letter addressed to "The Present Occupier" I simply called them and explained that I don't watch live television or use iPlayer. They sent "The Present Occupier" a letter showing that no licence is required.

      I had explained that I had various equipment in the house including screens, DVD players, computers and a smartphone. I have since acquired a Sky box which I use to listen to radio without a subscription. Problem solved.

  19. Andy Livingstone

    Lord Reith

    He knew how to sort out the BBC and about quality -- unlike the current lot.

    For now I'm happy to be over 75 and tell BBC and Capita where to stick their license fee demands.

    Money grabbing is now their National Sport.

  20. Gerry 3
    Facepalm

    The date of 16 October is wrong.

    The Westminster Hall debate will be held on Monday 20 November 2017.

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CDP-2017-0172

  21. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Yeah bbc is greay. Channel 5 is cheap porn.

    Last night (Friday) bbc1 offered the one show, followed by a warmed up totp corpses, followed by eastenders then that god awful mrs brown.

    Ch5 offered a 1h documentary on that big french brudge, followed by bethany hughes.

    The bbc is mainly shit, admit it. 80% of its budget goes on junk.

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