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BBC Takes Bold Step to Address Gender Disparity in TV Licence Fees

15 May 2023
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2 min.
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BBC Takes Bold Step to Address Gender Disparity in TV Licence Fees

Collaborates with StepChange

BBC revises TV license fee structure to address gender disparity, with a focus on providing financial assistance to women facing economic hardship.

Changes to Payment Plan

The BBC has extended its simple payment plan to all unlicensed households. This plan allows the cost of a TV Licence to be spread over 12 months through instalments, breaking the fee down into smaller payments. This change aims to make it easier for those struggling financially to pay their fees.

Financial Hardship Assistance

"Individuals experiencing financial difficulties can now receive support through a partnership between the BBC and StepChange, a reputable debt advice charity. This collaboration includes a two-month breathing space policy that halts enforcement action for those who opt to receive a referral for debt advice. These measures aim to offer extra assistance to those who are struggling financially.

Improved Evidence and Enforcement

The BBC will trial new approaches to allocating enforcement visits and improve the ways those prosecuted can provide evidence in their case. These changes seek to make the enforcement process fairer and more effective.

Gender Disparity Review

According to the Gender Disparity Review, societal factors contribute to a significant gender gap in non-payment of TV Licence fees, with 75% of those penalized being women. To address this issue, the BBC has developed an action plan supported by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, a noted expert in gender, racial equality, and the justice system. The plan aims to reduce the number of low-income individuals who face prosecution for fee avoidance.

Endorsement of the Plans

The plans have been endorsed by Vanessa Northam, head of charity development at StepChange, who recognizes the need for additional support for those facing financial difficulties.

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