Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Liberal Democrat 5:00 pm, 8th February 2017

The Minister has twice said that the licence fee is a tax. What is the basis of that? I would have thought that the licence fee is a service charge for a service provided to those who pay the licence. That does not sound like a tax. It is not imposed by the Treasury. It is a service fee. When I watch television, because I am old I no longer have to pay, for some reason—that is another matter—but I cannot understand how it can be regarded as a tax. By calling it a tax, surely the Minister is making a threat about future inroads into the BBC’s revenue.