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Television: Licensing

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the television licence fee. (314755)

I regularly receive representations on the level of the licence fee. Multi-annual funding settlements for the BBC help to guarantee the independence of the BBC and Government will continue to respect that principle.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether TV Licensing is authorised to undertake surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and what powers of entry it has. (314962)

The interpretation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is a matter for TV Licensing.

TV Licensing officers may enter a person’s home or business premises only with his or her consent or if authorised to do so by a warrant issued by a justice of the peace, a sheriff in Scotland, or a lay magistrate in Northern Ireland.

Under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003, in order to issue such a warrant the presiding judge must be satisfied by information provided on oath, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an offence of not holding a licence while having installed or using a TV receiver has been or is being committed, that evidence of the commission of the offence is likely to be on the premises, and there is no other practicable way to lawfully gain entry to the premises.