The household benefits package comprises the electricity/gas allowance, the telephone allowance and the free television licence. In 2013, my Department will spend an estimated €284 million on this scheme, providing some 410,000 customers with a package worth almost €700 per year. The estimated expenditure on the television licence element of the household benefits package for 2013 is €59 million.
The introduction of a household broadcasting charge in place of the current television licence funding regime is being considered by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Officials from my Department are liaising with that Department with regard to this issue. No decisions have been made at this time in relation to the household benefits package.