TV Licensing: Over 400,000 evaders caught in UK

TV Licensing today revealed more than 400,000 people were caught watching TV without a licence in the past 12 months.

TV Licensing’s effectiveness at catching evaders is one of the reasons the UK evasion rate is one of the lowest in Europe, remaining at a low of around five per cent for the past five years. At present, almost 95 per cent of UK homes are correctly licensed.

The UK’s TV Licence evasion rate is significantly lower than many other European countries, with evasion rates in Poland peaking at 65 per cent of the population.

Evasion rates across Europe*:

  • Poland - 65%
  • Italy - 26%
  • Ireland - 12%
  • Sweden - 12%
  • Norway - 9%
  • United Kingdom - 5%
  • Austria - 3%

Dualta Redmond, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

The data released today shows evasion remains at low levels of around five per cent, with the overwhelming majority of people correctly licensed. When compared to our European neighbours, the UK’s rate of evasion clearly shows a nation of law-abiding TV viewers, but in order to be fair to the majority who do pay for their licence, we’ll continue to pursue the small minority of people who do not pay.
Some people may find it difficult to pay in one go, so we offer numerous ways to spread the cost. Payment options include a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card or a monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can be set up very quickly online or over the phone. We also work with a range of money advice organisations to help people budget for a TV Licence. If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Head of Creditor Relations at StepChange Debt Charity, Richard Haymes said:

TV Licensing makes it easier for us to help clients keep within the law. We welcome the many ways to pay – this will help people on lower incomes plan and meet their TV Licensing requirements and we would ask anyone experiencing difficulty with payments to contact TV Licensing so they can provide additional advice.

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.

For further information about licensing requirements and ways to pay, visit


For more information, or to request an interview, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 875 26606 or email

Help on understanding the data in this press release:

  • Figures relate to people caught in geographical areas between January 2012 and January 2013 and are accurate at the time of reporting. Areas are 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.

* Figures for Europe sourced from An Post (Ireland) Gebühren Info Service (Austria), Rai Italia (Italy), NRK (Norway), Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB (Sweden) and Association of Public Media Employers (ZPMP) (Poland), are accurate at time of reporting.

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: