Almost 197,000 TV Licence evaders caught in 2011

TV Licensing today published figures showing that almost 197,000* people were caught watching TV without a licence across the UK during the first six months of 2011.

More than 23,000 were caught in Greater London, more than 10,000 in Glasgow and more than 5,000 in Birmingham.

Other cities with a high number of evaders caught include:

  • Manchester (more than 4,000)
  • Liverpool (more than 4,000)
  • Nottingham (more than 3,600)
  • Belfast (more than 2,800)
  • Edinburgh (more than 2,400)

The estimated evasion rate remains at a low of just over five per cent, meaning that almost 95 per cent of properties are correctly licensed.

Pauline Gillingham, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

While the vast majority of people in the UK pay their licence fee, to be fair to those who pay, we have to be firm with those who try to get away without paying. We take TV Licence evasion very seriously and we will not hesitate to prosecute if people continue to break the law.

We would always prefer people to buy a TV Licence than risk prosecution and do give people every opportunity to pay. However, we do understand some people may find it difficult to pay their licence fee in one go, which is why we offer numerous ways to spread the cost, including a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card and monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can all be set up very quickly online.

TV Licensing launched a new advertising campaign in May to remind people about the different ways to pay for their licence. Part two of the “Whatever’s easiest for you” ad trails will air on BBC channels for the first time this Saturday (23 July), highlighting the alternative options to paying all at once.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Executive Director at the Institute of Money Advisers said:

Lots of people struggle with their finances, but if you choose to watch TV without being correctly licensed you're breaking the law and risk making it worse. We welcome the ways in which TV Licensing makes it as easy as possible for people to spread the cost of their TV Licence and make payments online but, if you're having trouble, we urge you to give TV Licensing a call or seek help from a free money adviser in your area.

A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment. Anyone watching TV illegally risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Further information on how and where to pay the licence fee can be found on the TV Licensing website.


Notes to editor:

For more information, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 7544 3144.

*Help on understanding the data in this press release:

  • Figures relate to people caught between January and June 2011 and are accurate at the time of reporting, based on information from the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File as at March 2011, supplied by Geoplan.
  • Please note, due to some changes in the way this data is analysed, these figures are not necessarily comparable with previous data published.
  • The number of evaders caught in a locality changes from time to time, and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the visiting patterns of TV Licensing enquiry officers, which are subject to change.

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