Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (133, 134, 135, 136, 137)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

134 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of households estimated to have a television and not hold a TV licence; the estimated loss to the Exchequer of such evasion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4186/12]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

135 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of households estimated not to have a television and are therefore not liable to pay the TV licence fee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4187/12]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

136 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of revenue raised by the TV licence this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4188/12]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

137 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of revenue raised by the TV licence fee if every household was liable to pay the charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4189/12]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

139 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of revenue raised by the TV licence in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4200/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 to 137, inclusive, and 139 together.

The total amount of revenue raised by the TV Licence in 2011 was €217.77m. The total amount of revenue raised by the TV Licence to date in 2012 is unavailable until month end. The 2011 Census estimated the number of occupied households to be circa 1.7 million. A minority of these have to date made statutory declarations that they do not own a television set (approximately 44,000), which in theory leaves the potential revenue from the remainder of households to be in the region of €266m (i.e. 1.66m households x €160.00).

However, the current difficult economic situation is reflected in the actual level of sales in 2011. Final figures for 2011 show a total of 1.425m licensed households (a combination of direct sales of 1,021,443 and Department of Social Protection "free licences" of 403,815). This final figure would have an expected revenue intake of €228m. However, with the money being received from the Department of Social Protection in respect of free licences being capped at €57,184,565 the realised income amounted to €217.7m. The difference between income implied by TV Licence sales in 2011 and licence fee income actually realised in 2011 is accounted for by the timing of direct debits received.

In 2011, evasion was estimated to be over 15%, and thus costing upwards of €25 million. Every effort is made by An Post to bring evaders into the licensed pool and a considerable amount of its time and resources are spent in dealing with evasion. My Department is currently examining the latest projections for 2012 with a view to providing a revised estimate of evasion for the coming year. In the event that the current TV Licence is replaced with another funding model, many of the issues surrounding the question of evasion will become obsolete.