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Television: Licensing

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many proceedings for television licence evasion were brought in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many cases resulted in (a) a fine and (b) imprisonment in each year. (230862)

The number of proceedings brought to court in each financial year since April 2002 for non-payment of a television licence is shown in the following table.

April to March each year

Number of proceedings brought to court

2002-03

4,893

2003-04

4,903

2004-05

5,471

2005-06

5,006

2006-07

6,532

Note:

Data sourced from TV Licensing authorities.

In calendar year 2007, of 5,901 people prosecuted for non-payment of a television licence, 4,464 received fines. None were imprisoned. The corresponding information for the years prior to 2007 is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 July, how many of the fines levied in the period between 2002 and 2006 have been paid (a) in part and (b) in whole; and in respect of how many cases enforcement action for non-payment has been taken. (230853)

Information on paid, part paid and unpaid fines from television licence convictions is not collected centrally.

It is therefore not possible to establish the total of unpaid television licence fines or the number of television licence cases that have resulted in enforcement action.

The information collected by my Department identifies the number of television licence convictions ordered to be paid and the number and amounts of court fines issued for such offences within each region.

The overall payment rate for all financial penalties in the financial year to September 2008 is 87 per cent. The payment rate excluding the value of administrative cancellations for the same period is 75 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 July, what the (a) average fine imposed and (b) average period of imprisonment served was in each year between 2002 and 2006. (230858)

The information requested is shown in the following tables:

Average fine amount for offences relating to television licence evasion1, 2002-06

£

Region

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

North East

109.6

115.4

103.1

104.9

123.5

North West

106.9

102.2

109.2

115.3

122.3

Yorkshire and Humberside

90.6

104.2

101.5

112.5

121.4

East Midlands

141.0

137.0

134.8

131.9

139.9

West Midlands

131.3

136.2

141.0

152.4

158.8

East of England

116.6

113.5

117.5

109.2

116.3

London

100.7

106.7

110.4

130.3

133.8

South East

112.9

123.4

130.2

126.4

137.0

South West

120.3

115.6

111.4

117.4

126.1

Wales

97.6

108.6

101.1

105.4

117.6

Total England and Wales

110.5

114.7

115.5

121.8

129.4

1 The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect on 1 April 2004. Notes: 1. These data are on the principle offence basis. 2. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. 3. When answering previous parliamentary questions on this subject issues with data from certain police force areas were highlighted, however, this will only affect the numbers sentenced; average fine amounts will still be representative. Source: OMS Analytical services.

Average time served of those committed to custody for non-payment of fines for offences relating to Television Licence evasion, 2002-06

Average number of days served

2002

4

2003

6

2004

4

2005

10

2006

4

Notes: 1. The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect on 1 April 2004. 2. These data are on the principle offence basis. 3. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. 4. Due to the small numbers involved these data are not presented by region. Source:OMS Analytical services.