Working group to consider future of the TV licence fee

The group will consider a universal household broadcasting charge

Working group to consider future of the TV licence fee

Remote control for a television | Image: Daniel Law/PA Archive/PA Images

The government is to establish a high level group to examine the future of the TV licence fee.

The working group, made up of senior officials from different Government departments, will consider a range of options to increase the amount of money taken in.

It comes after the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten told the Dáil that the TV licence evasion costs public service broadcasting some €40m every year.

He said current levels of TV licence evasion are at 14.6% - around double that seen in the UK.

The new working group will examine whether it is appropriate for Revenue officials to collect the licence fee moving forward.

It will also consider the introduction of a universal household broadcasting charge and look at other measures aimed at cutting down on evasion.

Last year, an Oireachtas Committee found that the current funding model for public service broadcasting is not fit for purpose.

It called for it to be replaced with a household charge to be collected by Revenue officers.

It also found that the allocation of money earned from the licence should be “scrutinised and revised" to ensure they are “provided to a diversity of existing and new sources in a fair and equitable way."  

It called for the restoration of a funding cap for RTÉ and more funding to be made available for independent radio stations.