Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (197)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

197. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the work of the interdepartmental television licence fee working group; and when he expects recommendations to be published. [3239/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & Environment examined the longer term issue of the future funding of public service media and published their report at the end of November 2017. Following consideration of the recommendations made in that report, Government approval was received in July 2018 to establish a Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting.

The group is chaired by an Assistant Secretary from my Department and comprises senior officials from the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The group will examine the following options for the future funding of public service broadcasting and collection of the TV Licence fee:

- Collection by the Revenue Commissioners;

- Tendering for Licence Fee Collection;

- Replacement of the fee with a Broadcasting Charge or a variation.

The group will also examine the following related issues:

- A more equitable contribution from the business sector, for example through the introduction of different rates or categories of licence.

- The impact of the new arrangements on the current licence fee collection mechanism

- Any legislative, administrative or resource changes required to implement recommendations

- The likely timeline for transition to any new arrangement

- A Communications Strategy to inform stakeholders of planned changes

The Group is meeting monthly to consider of all of the issues set out above. It is intended that the Group will report back to me in Q1 2019 and I will revert to Government at that stage.