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Television: Licensing

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink) of 11 November 2008, Official Report, column 1096W, on television: licensing, how many people were convicted for failing to purchase a television licence in each of the last five years; and of these how many were fined the maximum sum prescribed. (242165)

I have been asked to reply.

Data showing the number of persons found guilty, and those issued with a fine, at all courts for Television Licence evasion in England and Wales, from 2003 to 2007, the latest available, are given in the following tables:

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Table A: The number of persons found guilty at all courts of Television Licence evasion, England and Wales, 2003-071, 2, 3

Number

2003

79,856

2004

89,240

2005

104,930

2006

115,470

2007

120,955

1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. 3 The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in section 363 of the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect 1 April 2004.

Table B: The number of persons, on conviction of Television Licence evasion offences, issued with a fine, at all courts, England and Wales, 2003-071, 2

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total number fined

78,923

87,735

103,716

113,985

120,114

Of which:

Total number fined the maximum amount (£1,000)

1

2

4

12

2

Average fine amount (£)

114

132

120

129

137

1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.