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Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

Threatogram received from Crapita today

Duly binned unread.

Supporters of the Beeb probably think that nonsmokers should be made to pay tobacco duty.

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Did it have their new bit on the outside, demanding that you tell them when your house is going to be empty?

K Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I was getting letters on a weekly basis, and some hand-delivered notices.. whilst I refuse to kowtow to their demands, I just got fed up, and actually found an easy way to stop the harassment - I dropped them a 1 line email containing my house number, postcode and a few words stating I don't watch TV. Suddenly the letters and threats stopped..

unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I didn't notice. I'll check the next one; the threatograms will arrive in greater numbers now that they have stopped believing that I don't watch telly..

unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

It doesn't stop the threatograms forever.

Pen-y-gors Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Dunno about threats, I'll watch this space as a couple of months ago I informed them that I had stopped watching TV (which is true - damn all worth watching, and I was wasting too much of my life channel hoping in the hope of finding something to watch)

Only irritation is that I am an honest citizen so I don't watch anything on iPlayer, even when there is the occasional odd program of interest - and I can't watch S4C on catch-up as that's on iPlayer too.

I'll just stick to the Grand Sumo highlights on catch-up on NHK world.

sabroni Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Of all the taxes I pay the tv licence is the only one that goes on something I approve of, and it's a tiny fraction of the amount of taxes I pay, from PAYE through to VAT. I pay it happily because I've seen what's on Sky, I see the crap that passes for informative TV on 5 and it's clear that the quality of content would plummet without the BBC.

Bunch of cheapskates.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Got a letter at work and I called them up as the option that covered our situation didn't exist on their website. I said yes we have a TV (two in fact) but no aerial connection to them. We don't really use them except for demonstrations where we need a big screen. The bloke said "You could have just have ticked another box you know" but that wouldn't be correct and I said so. I suggested that they should add another option which was just "other" with a space for your own explanation. He said that they'd be in contact in 12 months time to see if anything had changed. I said don't bother but I'll put money on them doing that.

At one place I temped at they were moving out of the building as the entire row of offices were going to be demolished. This was at the end of the licence period and at the new offices there was no TV so the redirected reminders and red ink letters went in the bin. The demolition crew apparently were very surprised when a bloke from Crapita/TVL turned up looking for the business.

K Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

@sabroni - Your entitled to the BBC, but at the moment others are subsiding your past-times.. consumers of the service (and only them) should pay for this. Though if you're happy to subsidize my past-times (porn and travelling) then I'll happily contribute to the BBC license fee!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I don't go to school. I think it's an utter outrage that my taxes should support those who do.

Being fit and healthy, I don't use hospitals. They should all be abolished.

I'm not elderly. Those who are should just put up or shut up.

etc.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Did you explicitly withdraw your consent to their further processing your personal data?

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"consumers of the service (and only them) should pay for this"

I haven't been to the doctors in years, why should I pay for the NHS?

I haven't had any issues with crime, why should I pay for the police?

I haven't had a fire, why should I pay for the fire service?

I haven't had any foreign countries try to attack me, why should I pay for the armed forces?

And if you want to go only down the hobby/entertainment route, I don't watch the olympics, yet I had to pay towards them when they came to the UK, and probably every time they are on. Probably the same with football etc. too.

Some things are deemed to be in the national interest. And, strictly, paying the TV license is not "paying for the BBC", it's paying for the privilege of watching TV. You don't have to watch TV if you don't want, so you don't have to pay for a TV license. Just like you don't need to have a car, so don't have to pay road fund license.

TRT Silver badge

Re: The crap that's on channel 5...

Last night was a gruesome schedule. The Apprentice. Peaky Blinders. I'm a Celebrity. Lifers Behind Bars. Raped: My Story.

And on the plethora of other channels:

Something about Jamie Bulger, something about getting back with your ex, something about Death Row, something about The Zodiac Killer...

It makes me wonder if there's a reason to live anymore? I didn't get as far as the music channels, but I'm willing to bet there was a 12 hour homage to The Smiths on one channel, and My Music:Tracey Chapman on the other.

technoise

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Dr. Mouse:

"I haven't been to the doctors in years, why should I pay for the NHS?

I haven't had any issues with crime, why should I pay for the police?

I haven't had a fire, why should I pay for the fire service?

I haven't had any foreign countries try to attack me, why should I pay for the armed forces?"

How does something that preserves life, or defends it, like the NHS, the fire service, or the military, equate to an entertainment service? And why should we be forced to pay for information we aren't necessarily interested in, or agree with?

If you think this hand-picked entertainment and information is so essential that we all have to pay for it, why don't we all pay for all the other information and entertainment out there? And why is this payment necessary for us to see all the other stuff that this tax doesn't pay for, and for which we have to pay extra?

The whole idea of the TV licence is a nonsense, but it represents a large pot of money (£3.7 billion per year, not 40p a day) that the establishment of this country appears to be so addicted to, that they continually support it within the Westminster bubble.

Goldmember

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"Bunch of cheapskates."

Not really. It all depends on what you want to watch.

18 months ago I cancelled all services and switched exclusively to non-iPlayer streaming - some paid for, some free - and I've never looked back. But back in the days of me having broadcast TV at home, I only really ever watched the F1, a few Sky Atlantic and HBO dramas (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones etc) and car-related shows (Wheeler Dealers, Fast 'n' Loud). None of which were available on the BBC. And yet, I still had to pay the ridiculous licence fee to watch all of this stuff, on top of the extortionate Sky subscription.

So no, it's nothing to do with being "cheap", it's all to do with being FORCED to pay for a particular media network's entertainment output, even if you have no intention of using it and only want to watch commercial output (note the word Entertainment here, before anyone pipes up with the stupid "how often do you go to hospital? You're happy to pay for that and not use it" argument).

It's great that you're happy to pay for the BBC. If the government ever see sense (a paradox, I know) and decides to switch it to a subscription-only service, you can enjoy paying for it. But I shouldn't have to.

OurAl

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I don't have to pay £145 annually to ASDA, so that I can eat food supplied from Tesco.

I don't have to pay the road tax to Ford, so that I can buy a Vauxhall

If the BBC is so popular, why is it not funded through subscribing, just like Sky.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"How does something that preserves life, or defends it, like the NHS, the fire service, or the military, equate to an entertainment service? "

Because its aim is to enrich life, which is just as important as preserving it.

"And why should we be forced to pay for information we aren't necessarily interested in, or agree with?"

Because somebody else might be interested in it, or starved of other sources of information through no fault of their own.

I'm happy to pay it.

Sidenote - El Reg's anti-BBC/license fee bias has always struck me as really odd. Although the last few times we've had calls to our press office from them they've been american journalists, so maybe that explains it...

macjules Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I dropped them a 1 line email containing my house number, postcode and a few words stating I don't watch TV.

But why even bother to do that? Giving Capita your email address house number and postcode provides them with a lot of marketing information about you which they will then sell on.

I simply let the paperwork pile up and when Capita come to call I show them the licence and shout "Darling, let the dogs loose now".

Danny 14 Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

he didnt say it was hus REAL address.

its easy to tpyo

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I think that you're missing the point. In NZ we abolished the TV Licence fee years ago. Net result saturation advertising and just another channel largely catering to the LCD.

If a TV station has to depend on advertising revenue for income then independence goes out the window and with it programme quality.

This post has been deleted by its author

unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

The BBC is not a public service, it's a source of (shit) entertainment.

The fact that you are trying to conflate the two tells me everything I need to know about you.

Oh Homer Silver badge

Re: "something I approve of"

Your subjective reasoning is non sequitur.

Why should those who don't "approve of" the garbage that passes for modern day TV entertainment be endlessly harassed, intimidated and treated like criminals?

And no, contacting the TVL does not stop the harassment, it only ensures that the next threatogram is addressed to e.g. "Mr. Smith" instead of "The Legal Occupier". I speak from personal experience.

It's not like I oppose taxation -- I'm a lifelong socialist and Labour Party member, after all -- but taxes are supposed to be for essential public utilities, not something that subjectively qualifies as "entertainment".

I don't particularly care how many starry-eyed sentimentalists eulogise the BBC. I. DO. NOT. WANT. IT. Why the fuck should I be expected to pay for it?

Clunking Fist Bronze badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"Because its aim is to enrich life, which is just as important as preserving it."

Just as important, eh?

I'll remember that next time you're lying in agony on a gurney in an NHS hospital with a suspected appendicitis and there are no beds available but 50 million(?) was found to EVALUATE that lovely Garden Bridge and those other "cultural" enrichments that the bubble dwellers think we need. The BBC is a "nice to have"

Clunking Fist Bronze badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

From NZ: the tele had ads AND the licence fee, so don't create a misconception.

And all our (local) programming was shite. It was like 95% of French films: made just to keep people employed and because there was funding available.

Sky is NOT the only model. Netflicks is.

And isn't that why there's (I believe) ads on iplayer?

Oh Homer Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: "I don't go to school"

Maybe if you did then you'd understand that what you subjectively characterise as "entertainment" is not an essential public utility, it's not a human right, and it doesn't make the difference between life or death ... or even between comfort and squalor. It's completely non-essential, of purely subjective value, and those who have absolutely no interest in it whatsoever should not be harassed into paying for it. Period.

A better analogy would be if everyone were forced by law to pay Cineworld for the benefit of a largely adolescent minority who religiously visit the cinema to watch endless streams of Transformers sequels, on the basis that "you might one day decide to go watch a film at Cineworld", even though you haven't been anywhere near a cinema in well over a decade.

Would you find that acceptable?

No, then why the fuck should I be forced to fund your hobby?

Timbo

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"If the BBC is so popular, why is it not funded through subscribing, just like Sky."

EXACTLY.

Let the BBC become a subscription service, added to your Sky/Virgin "bundle" and ensure BBC subscriber cards are available for people watching on Freeview/Freesat.

If the other channels want to go to a subscription model, then let them. Then we all have free choice as to what we want to watch.

Personally, I don't want to subsidise Strictly Apprentice Chris Evans Bake Off Roadshow as a result of maybe wanting to see something on Sky or Netflix.

I have a TV and an aerial point in the house - so what's the betting even if I declared that I don't watch "TV", someone from Crapita will decree that I *could* watch TV via an aerial cable, if that was bought for 69p from Wilko's...spare me the hassle, P-Leese....

Timbo

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"I simply let the paperwork pile up and when Capita come to call I show them the licence and shout "Darling, let the dogs loose now"."

If you have a TV LIcence, then why are you getting letters from TVL/Crapita???

Are you implying that Crapita's database is out of date and perhaps even has errors....no wonder the licence is £145, if licence payers are forking out for all the paper, envelopes, printing AND postage !!

streaky Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

I dropped them a 1 line email containing my house number, postcode and a few words stating I don't watch TV. Suddenly the letters and threats stopped..

This does work... for a time.. then it starts again. Eventually they stop reading your emails/letters and decide that you can't possibly be not watching TV because nobody does that. I usually just wait for them to show up and tell them to go fuck themselves, they normally get the message.

This post has been deleted by its author

9Rune5

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"I don't go to school. I think it's an utter outrage that my taxes should support those who do.

Being fit and healthy, I don't use hospitals. They should all be abolished."

I agree. The government should focus on the important stuff, and leave the nonsense public broadcasting lark to the private sector.

Jess

Re: The crap that's on channel 5...

Peaky Blinders is excellent. (But also available on Netflix, if you don't mind waiting.) But whenever I'm in the Premier Inn (Abysmal wifi, that only seems to stay connected for more than a couple of minutes on Linux or BB10, limiting your options for streaming) I do confirm I'm not missing much by not having a TV licence at home.

Volvic

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

A strawman argument, eh?

The duty to enrich the lives of your citizens is just as important as the duty to protect them, yes. And I'm happy to pay money to help do both. Life without information and entertainment is not life, it's just existing. Your comments about the Garden Bridge are irrelevant to the topic at hand, but on the internet a reasonable discussion without ludicrous hyperbole is a "nice to have".

Sirius Lee

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"it's clear that the quality of content would plummet without the BBC"

The BBC is the 800lb gorilla the the UK sitting room. Other UK terrestrial TV companies have to find ways to entice advertisers while the BBC is stealing their ideas. Was the BBC the first to have a nightly soap opera? No. Was it the firs to have a dancing competition? No. But the BBC barges in and takes away viewers from commercial TV providers using our money to do so.

Is it any wonder the offerings of commercial TV providers is lack-lustre when they have to find a way to profitability with a state funded (we *are* the state) broadcaster in the sitting room? If they had more revenues they probably would provide a wider range and better quality of content.

Is it any wonder that the free view channels are stuffed with US content providers who do not need to compete with a state funded content provider.

Sure, have a public service broadcaster but have one that fills niches not occupied by commercial companies, such as Sky at Night or University Challenge, rather than steal other's good ideas. May be then we will have a wider choice of excellent content.

HmmmYes Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Well, all the above are services useful in the modern world.

The BBC just is not essential, useful, unique or good anymore.

At least let me discount my Netflix subs against the tax.

TheTor

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

Some things are deemed to be in the national interest. And, strictly, paying the TV license is not "paying for the BBC", it's paying for the privilege of watching TV. You don't have to watch TV if you don't want, so you don't have to pay for a TV license. Just like you don't need to have a car, so don't have to pay road fund license.

No it isn't. Its for watching live broadcasts (or any beeb content) on any device. I can watch dvds, netflix, et all, on my TV completely licence free.

Roland6 Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today @K

Though if you're happy to subsidize my past-times (porn and travelling) then I'll happily contribute to the BBC license fee!

It may surprise you, but currently everyone who pays for a TV licence does sort of subsidize your pastimes! Without the licence fee, there would be no Freeview service and thus no free-to-air "Adult" and Travel channels...

Remember the TV licence fee is something the government charges people who want to receive TV, regardless of the channels watched. The government has in a separate decision decided to ring-fence the revenues generated from the licence fee and give them in their entirety to the BBC.

GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

@Sirius Lee.

Er, yeah, the BBC were the first to broadcast 'soap operas',.... ON THE RADIO. The BBC broadcast a soap on telly in 1954, a year before ITV came online.

Dancing comps,.... oh, dear, .. 'Come dancing' was first broadcast in 1950.

Please retract the falsehoods in your post and adjust your attitude accordingly.

GhilleDhu
Devil

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

When I moved in to my first flat I couldn't afford a telly let alone anything else. So I dutifully sent back the nope I don't have a license part of the form.

After a few months the man in a fake van came round, and demanded I let him enter my flat. I told him politely to leave as I didn't have a telly and therefore I didn't need a license and I didn't give him permission to enter my door...

Fast forward easily 6 months of the same man popping around, just when i'd got home, or when I was entertaining etc. Finally one lovely Sat morning I was away to pull open the curtains when I spotted him trunching up the path to the block of flats. Quick as a flash I stripped out of my PJ's, turned on the shower and waited. Soon enough there was a knock at the door, took a quick glimpse to make sure it was the right person, confirmed and swung the door widely open.

Now the vision of a 6"2 reasonably fat bloke starkers was definitely not what he was expecting. I asked him what he wanted and he stammered out that he was here to check if I had a TV license.... I said I've already told you I don't own a telly but if you're sure you want to check go right ahead.

As he came in I shut the main door, and followed him closely around as he scanned around my rooms for anything telly like. He asked if I PC monitor had a telly input, I told him go take a look and let him feel really uncomfortable as he had a look behind. At that point the kettle pinged and I suggested he might want a cup of tea... He was out of there in no time at all, and I never saw him or another one again. When the missus came home I told her what happened and I got in trouble, but I still laugh at the memory of it.

Note: This was before the days of catch up, so couldn't have watched anything on the PC unless it was on a CDROM :).

SundogUK

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"...with it programme quality."

Bollocks. The best TV being made today is coming from the US, hardly a bastion of non-commercial TV.

SundogUK

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"not only will the free channels that exist lower their standards.."

Why?

SundogUK

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"The duty to enrich the lives of your citizens is just as important as the duty to protect them"

Fuck off. The government has a duty to obey the will of the people and nothing else.

strum Silver badge

Re: The crap that's on channel 5...

>Last night was a gruesome schedule. The Apprentice. Peaky Blinders. I'm a Celebrity. Lifers Behind Bars. Raped: My Story.

At the same time as Peaky Blinders, BBC4 had the excellent "Digging for Britain" (with lots of skeletons & skulls).

This post has been deleted by its author

strum Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

>If you think this hand-picked entertainment and information is so essential that we all have to pay for it, why don't we all pay for all the other information and entertainment out there?

because it's a lot less trustworthy (being dependent on some oligarch's whim).

> it represents a large pot of money (£3.7 billion per year, not 40p a day) that the establishment of this country appears to be so addicted to, that they continually support it within the Westminster bubble.

...and the British population do, too.

strum Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

>The fact that you are trying to conflate the two tells me everything I need to know about you.

The fact that you are unable to recognise the quality that the Beeb produces (amongst more populist fare) speaks volumes about you.

strum Silver badge

Re: "something I approve of"

>Why should those who don't "approve of"

Why should those who don't approve deprive the rest of us?

strum Silver badge

Re: "I don't go to school"

>No, then why the fuck should I be forced to fund your hobby?

Oh dear. The anti-intellectuals are out in force today.

Close all libraries (they can use Kindle).

Close all parks (they can grow their own gardens).

Close all public schools/universities (they can go to Eton).

What a sorry country this would be, if people like you had their way.

strum Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

>the BBC is stealing their ideas

Over the decades, the BBC has invented a lot more TV 'standards' than all the others put together.

>Was the BBC the first to have a nightly soap opera?

Actually - yes (on radio).

>Was it the firs to have a dancing competition?

Pretty much. Having invented the Come Dancing brand, back in the 50s.

>Sure, have a public service broadcaster but have one that fills niches not occupied by commercial companies, such as Sky at Night or University Challenge, rather than steal other's good ideas.

Deary me. University Challenge was one of the very few ideas 'stolen' from ITV (after ITV ditched it).

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"How does something that preserves life, or defends it, like the NHS, the fire service, or the military, equate to an entertainment service? And why should we be forced to pay for information we aren't necessarily interested in, or agree with?"

You mean like museums, youth clubs, parks and things? Or the many many other "entertainment" things paid for by taxes of one sort or another?

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