Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (10)

Lucinda Creighton


10. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the introduction of a public broadcasting service charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45223/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Programme for Government commits to transform the TV Licence into a household based Public Service Broadcasting Charge, to be applied to all eligible households and applicable businesses regardless of the device used to access content or services. It is not my intention that this Charge would place any additional burden on those who are currently compliant and pay their €160 per year TV Licence fee. Where practicable, I also hope to retain the exemption for those in receipt of the Household Benefits Package, which includes Senior Citizens. Responsibility, however, for issues relating to benefits that arise through the Household Benefits Package such as exemptions from the liability to pay the existing TV licence and the consequent right to a free licence are matters for the Minister for Social Protection

I launched a consultation on the proposed Public Service Broadcasting Charge on 27 August which ran until the 8 October. Almost 400 responses were received from members of the public, industry and stakeholder groups. The consultation paper was based on the key findings of a Value for Money Policy Review completed by my Department earlier this year. Views were sought on a series of questions based on each of the Value for Money recommendations which can be generally categorised as pertaining to the Basis for the Charge; Eligible Households; Applicable Businesses; Payments; Collection; and Compliance and Enforcement. I am considering the responses received during the Consultation and will use them to inform proposals on the Charge which I will bring to Government with the intention that the Charge will be introduced in 2015.

Question No. 11 answered with Question No. 9.