Tuesday 20 November 2018

Revealed: Households could see reduction in TV licence fees in new 'revamp'

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Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Communications Minister Denis Naughten has signalled that householders could see a reduction in TV licence fees after the overhaul in how the fee is collected is completed.

It is estimated that TV licence evasion costs RTÉ around €40m annually.

However, plans to revamp how the fee is collected will not be decided until next year.

A working group has been established, including Revenue, which will examine how best to collect it but will not report until March 2019.

Mr Naughten told TDs and Senators this week "if a significant amount of money was raised, we could consider a reduction in the overall cost of the licence to consumers".

This is despite calls from RTÉ to increase the fee from €160, in line with inflation.

Speaking before TDs and senators, Mr Naughten also said the way in which the licence applies needed to be examined.

Justify

"There are more than 1,000 televisions in Leinster House for a single TV licence. It is very hard to justify this.

"Many areas need to be examined with regard to how the television licence applies," he said.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government was examining RTÉ funding following a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland report called for an urgent injection of funding, saying he had met the broadcaster's chairperson Mary Finan and chief executive Dee Forbes this week.

"Ultimately, though, any money is public money and taxpayers' money and we have to make sure it gets used to the best effect.

"There is a lot to public service broadcasting that is beyond RTÉ," he said.

Irish Independent

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