Over 13,000 fined for not paying TV licence fee FOI request shows



Caroline Levesque-Bartlett

Almost 13,500 people in Scotland were found guilty of failing to pay their TV licence in the last year, with those in Glasgow most likely to be offenders.

Figures obtained under a freedom of information (FOI) request show that 13,486 people were fined out of court under the Communications Act 2003 and that 28 were found guilty of breaching the act in court.

Over 3,404 fines were handed out in Glasgow, followed by North Lanarkshire.

The fines are income-assessed and can reach £1,000 although the average is thought to be nearer £170.

The FOI request was made by Caroline Levesque-Bartlett whose petition for the abolition of the licence fee received 163,000 signatures.

She said: “It’s not fair that people are being prosecuted for not paying something unfair.

“The whole TV licence fee is a burden to the poor in the first place. It’s hard to justify forcing the whole country to subsidise a broadcaster, using criminal sanctions.”

A spokeswoman for TV Licensing said prosecutors only deal with such cases as a last resort.

She said: “We know some people may find it difficult to pay but we do all we can to help, including offering weekly cash payment schemes.”

You can download Ms Levesque-Bartlett’s data here: TV licence evasion The Scottish File