More than 100,000 respond to consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion has closed after receiving more than 100,000 responses.

The Government launched an eight-week consultation in February. It ended on Wednesday, with the Government set to announce its response at a later date.

It is believed that the consultation had more than 100,000 responses.

BBC chief Lord Hall (Ben Stansall/PA)

A review in 2015 said licence fee evasion should not be decriminalised.

The Government has said it “believes that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion given ongoing concerns that the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate”.

The BBC has warned that decriminalising licence fee evasion and switching to a civil system would cost it more than £1 billion and lead to significant cuts to programmes and services.

The broadcaster recently postponed the axing of the free TV licence for over-75s by two months, saying the “BBC has a vital role to play” in this “uniquely challenging time”.

BBC director-general Lord Hall has not ruled out a further delay to the end of the universal benefit.