Friday 23 February 2018

Major new report proposes increase in TV licence fee and a charge for every home – even if you don't own a TV

  • New report proposes radical shake up including household charge
  • Draft proposals also include 'culture tax' for internet providers
  • Current licence fee of €160 should be raised to as much as €175
  • Fee could be linked to inflation
  • 'TV licence model is broken' - civil servant
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Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A major new report into funding public broadcasting is proposing a radical shake up of the licence fee system, including a household charge regardless of whether there is a TV in the house.

The proposals are contained in a report seen by the Irish Independent that gives a series of options for an upcoming debate on the issue in the Oireachtas Committee on Communications.

Also mentioned in the draft proposals is a possible 'culture tax' to be levied on internet service providers.

The document also warned that the current licence fee of €160 should be raised to as much as €175 along with the suggestion that its rate should be linked to inflation in the future.

The "non device dependent" charge would cover all households and not just those with a "traditional TV".

News of the report comes just 24 hours after the Department of Communications' most senior civil servant said the current TV licence system is "broken".

Appearing at the Dail's Public Accounts Committee, Mark Griffin said regarding RTÉ: "We in the department have a real concern about the future funding of the company.

"I would say the TV licence model is broken. I'm not sure whether it can be fixed."

Mr Griffin said previously abandoned plans for a broadcasting charge that would cover people who watch TV services on laptops and tablets may need to be reconsidered.

He also said there was the possibility transmission fees could be paid by satellite companies for broadcasting RTE, though he conceded the likes of Sky had been resisting such proposals.

Earlier this year a so-called 'laptop levy' to replace the TV licence was roundly rejected after opposition from members of the Cabinet.

The draft report seen by Irish Independent also says that there is a need to redefine 'public service broadcasting' and include the role played by local newspapers and media.

Ireland is one of 13 countries in Europe still using the licence fee model.

However, seven of those have 'uncoupled' their licence fee from ownership of a TV.

This includes the UK, as well as Denmark, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania.

In Finland, a broadcasting tax is levied on people based on their income.

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