Ben Lovejoy wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:The present arrangement is virtually a dwelling tax, since it is almost universally applied
It's a voluntary subscription paid by those who choose to have TV sets. The fact that a great many people choose to subscribe doesn't make it a tax or something that should be paid by all.
I'm not saying it is something that should be paid by everybody. What I am saying is that in present days conditions, the television is an important facility (for want of a better word) for most people, even though that importance seems to be diminishing. I'm not in any doubt that anybody who wants a tele should pay for it. I am saying that the funding of the BBC needs to be reconsidered. In an increasingly market-lead society, it is still suggested that pay per view or some other way of way of introducing the market "would not work." This can only mean that BBC viewers would not be prepared to pay at a level to sufficient to fund the current BBC budget. Therefore, if as a society we want the BBC to carry on as now, the £££ must come from somewhere. I'm suggesting that in present conditions, where there are many alternatives to the BBC, it is inappropriate to persist with a system which was designed to fund a monopoly supplier, as the BBC was originally. The current system has other implications, for example,the BBC acts as a sort of alternative Arts Council, subsidising various things like several orchestras. These may all be "good things" but that is no reason why they should be funded by a charge on unrelated television use. OTOH, it's my impression that the market in some things, like rights to show soccer matches and the pay of TV personalities, are distorted by the BBC.
Without a licence fee, if a majority of people thought that the BBC should not be funded out of general taxation, then those interested in its continued existance would have to come up with an alternative PDQ. I used to feel that that an independent BBC was worth protecting. The present government seems to have compromised that independence with threats to the TV Licence. I doubt if any future government will retreat from that approach. Obviously, they would try to exert the same influence if the BBC were being more directly subsidised by the Exchequer. I suppose I am saying that the BBC has turned itself into a luxury most of us either cannot afford or don't want to pay for.
You do hear anecdotes about cases where the enforcement people have not been "invited" into a dwellinghouse to make an inspection and they have allegedly obtained a warrant on spurious grounds from a docile bench, presumably on the rationale that anybody with nothing to hide would let them in.