Broadcast charge put on long finger until after poll
The new household broadcasting charge is to be delayed by at least 12 months and is unlikely to be introduced before the General Election in 2016.
The charge, which was due to replace the current TV licence fee of €160 a year per household from next January, is being long-fingered to avoid a clash with the arrival of the first water charge bills through letterboxes at the same time.
"There is a real concern about how many new charges people can absorb. And while for many this is a replacement of an existing charge, there is a realisation the people are fatigued," said one senior Government source.
One in five currently don't pay the TV licence fee, which is seen as a highly inefficient means of raising funds.
New Communications Minister Alex White is keen to stress that he is not abandoning the charge and is still committed to delivering it. However, with the charge now delayed at least until the start of 2016, there is huge doubt about a Government that is seeking re-election moving on it so close before the public goes to the polls.
The fee, which is not expected to exceed the current licence fee of €160, is to be levied on all households irrespective of whether there is a TV present.
"Yes, there is a political consideration to when the broadcasting charge will come in," the source said.