TV Licensing publishes annual evader statistics

TV Licensing today published figures showing that almost 400,000 people were caught watching TV without a licence across the UK in 2010.

More than 50,000 were caught in Greater London, more than 21,000 in Glasgow and more than 10,400 in Birmingham.

Other cities with a high number of evaders caught include:

  • Manchester (more than 7,800)
  • Liverpool (more than 7,500)
  • Nottingham (more than 6,800)
  • Belfast (more than 5,700)
  • Edinburgh (more than 5,500)
  • Hull (more than 4,800)
  • Leeds (more than 4,800)
  • Bristol (more than 4,600)

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.

Ian Fannon, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

“It’s not fair on the vast majority of people who pay their licence fee for some people to watch TV without paying. We try to give people every chance to get on the right side of the law, but ultimately if they fail to pay, we will take action.

We take TV Licence evasion very seriously, and any householder or business caught watching TV without a licence can face a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

We do understand that 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 monthly Direct Debit, which can be set up very quickly online, and a weekly or monthly cash payment plan.”

Did you know?

  • A colour TV Licence 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.
  • TV Licensing has over 30 million UK addresses on its database and can tell at the click of a button which addresses are unlicensed
  • An unlicensed address will receive a number of reminder letters and possibly a phone call before a visit from an enquiry officer is scheduled – but if someone is then caught watching TV illegally, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000
  • Detector vans and handheld detectors can be used by enquiry officers to check if an unlicensed property is watching TV illegally, but the database is the main enforcement tool
  • People can start paying their licence fee within minutes by visiting www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or by calling 0300 790 6112. Direct Debit is the most popular payment method, chosen by 69% of payers. Over 2 million people paid via our website in 2009/10, with over 1 million payers receiving an e-licence rather than a paper licence in the post. TV Licensing’s cash schemes are also popular, with 35,000 people even paying by text message.


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 December 2010 and are accurate at the time of reporting, based on information from the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File as at March 2010, 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.

Paying for a TV Licence:

TV Licensing aims to make it as easy as possible for people to buy a TV Licence, which is why there are many ways to pay. Visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or call 0300 790 6112 for more information on any of the following payment methods:

  • Online by Direct Debit or with a debit or credit card. Monthly, quarterly or annual Direct Debit schemes are available.
  • Over-the-counter at any of more than 22,000 PayPoint outlets
  • By debit or credit card over the phone – call 0300 790 6112
  • By post – send a cheque payable to TV Licensing to: TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL or fill in a Direct Debit form
  • In weekly or monthly instalments on our cash payment plan either over the counter at any of more than 22,000 PayPoint outlets, online, by SMS or by phone

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