'No cavemen here' – all have to pay licence
COMMUNICATIONS minister Pat Rabbitte has said the country has "no cavemen" – people who do not watch television, listen to the radio or use a mobile device.
The minister today insisted there would be no exemption from the Public Service Broadcasting Charge for people claiming they did not use the service.
And he said the household charge database could be one resource used by his department to ensure there is compliance with the new legislation.
The new charge, due to be introduced next year, will replace the annual TV licence fee.
"I don't believe that we have cavemen in the country," he told RTE radio this morning. "I don't believe that there are people who don't watch television and don't access content on their iPad, or their iPhone or whatever." Mr Rabbitte added: "If you regard public service broadcasting as a public good, and if you look at the statutory impositions, for example, that are on the public service broadcasters in terms of a range of cultural, public affairs, and the objects are set out in the legislation."
"Then I think it's fair that everybody should make a contribution to paying for that."
The minister has given a commitment that the new charge will not exceed the current €160 a year licence fee.
However, he said that there would be certain exemptions for senior citizens and people with second homes.
A loophole that has allowed hotels and other businesses with multiple televisions to hold one licence will also be closed.
The new universal charge will be collected in a way that tackles the current very high evasion rates of the TV licence fee.
Currently, nearly one-in-five households do not pay the TV licence fee and this is costing the Government €30m a year in lost revenue.