Saturday 16 December 2017

Minister 'will not' be hiking TV licence fee from €160

Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke
Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Calls for an increase in the TV licence fee from RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes have fallen on deaf ears.

Ms Forbes has said it is "impossible" for the national broadcaster to plan ahead for next year because of uncertainty over its income streams.

She argued if the TV licence fee kept pace with the rate of inflation, it would now be at €175 as opposed to the current price of €160. This would mean an additional €15m in revenue for RTÉ.

However, the idea of an increase has been shot down by Communications Minister Denis Naughten.

A spokesperson for the minister told the Irish Independent he "will not be considering raising the TV licence fee amount".

Mr Naughten wants a greater focus on collecting unpaid fees rather than increasing the cost for families who do pay.

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes. Photo: David Conachy
RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes. Photo: David Conachy

During a contribution to an Oireachtas committee earlier this week, Ms Forbes noted the cost of the licence fee hasn't been increased in a decade "unlike virtually every other public or private utility".

"Stamps have increased in price, newspapers, private TV subscriptions, phone bills, hospital fees, electricity bills, broadband, bus fares, almost everything you can think of - why not the TV licence?

"If the TV licence fee had simply kept pace with inflation since it was last raised - as it is supposed to do as set out in legislation - the TV licence fee today would be €175 per household per year, or 47c a day. Still just over a quarter of the cost of a national newspaper," she added.

Officials estimate that almost 14pc of households don't pay their TV licence, which amounts to a €40m loss each year.

Mr Naughten recently announced a clampdown on evasion that will include the hiring of 'enforcers' who will be incentivised to collect outstanding fees.

Irish Independent

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