204,000 TV Licence evaders in first half of 2012

TV Licensing today (20th July) published figures showing more than 204,000* people in the UK were caught watching TV without a licence during the first six months of 2012.

More than 28,000 were caught in Greater London, more than 6,000 in Glasgow and more than 4,900 in Birmingham.

Other cities with a high number of evaders caught include:

  • Liverpool (more than 3,000)
  • Manchester (more than 3,900)
  • Bristol (more than 2,600)
  • Belfast (more than 2,300)
  • Hull (more than 2,100)

The overall estimated evasion rate remains at a low of around five per cent. This means the majority of people, or 19 out of 20 households and businesses are correctly licensed.

Dualta Redmond, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

Today’s figures paint a very positive picture as the vast majority of people in the UK continue to pay their licence fee. Unfortunately, a minority of people do not pay for their licence, which is unfair to the law-abiding majority who do pay.
If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. 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 or over the phone. We also work with a range of money advice organisations – their staff can provide useful information and payment advice to help people budget for a TV Licence.

Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) director of external affairs Delroy Corinaldi, said:

We work closely with people experiencing financial difficulties to help them manage their outgoings and meet household bills and expenses. TV Licensing makes the process of purchasing a licence as easy as possible, with many ways to pay and an informative website helps to ensure that people are correctly licensed. We would urge anyone having trouble 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. 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.

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Notes to editor:

For more information, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 875 26606.

*Help on understanding the data in this press release:

  • Figures relate to people caught between January and June 2012 and are accurate at the time of reporting, based on information from the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File as of January 2012, 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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