Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (293)

Jim Daly

Ceist:

293. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if An Post will continue to retain the contract to carry out inspections regarding the payments of the public broadcasting charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11526/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Programme for Government commits to transforming the TV licence into a household based Public Broadcasting Charge to be applied to all eligible households and applicable businesses, regardless of the device used to access content or services. It also commits to reviewing new ways of TV licence collection, including the possibility of paying in instalments through another utility bill (electricity or telecom), collection by local authorities, Revenue or a new contract with An Post.

In line with these commitments, my Department is involved in the ongoing analysis and policy development work that is necessary in advance of the implementation of any changes that may be required. I am currently considering the results of a public consultation process on the introduction of the proposed Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Charge. The consultation was based on the outcome of a Value for Money (VFM) Review on the charge, which was conducted by my Department last year. The VFM Review and public consultation will inform proposals on the shape of the charge, including decisions with respect to the collection agent, which I will bring to Government in due course. As the Deputy will appreciate, the replacement of the existing funding system based on the collection of television licence fees with one based on the imposition of device-independent charge on eligible households and businesses is a complex process and the logistics involved require thorough attention. Identifying the most appropriate collection method and agent will necessitate detailed consideration and will have regard to national and European procurement rules.