The position, as outlined to Deputy Cullinane earlier, is worth repeating. RTÉ is funded by a combination of licence fee income and commercial revenue. The only element of Exchequer funding is that which comes from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, which provided an additional €8.6 million this year and €1.5 million last year. The Department has therefore contributed an additional €10 million in the past two years towards the licence fee income. This is divided, as the Deputy is aware.
One of the issues that arises is the very high evasion rate of 12.83% when it comes to people paying for television licences. The Government has accepted the recommendation of the interdepartmental working group on the future funding of public service broadcasting to put licence fee collection out to public tender. I will bring forward an amendment on Committee Stage of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2019. The Government also accepted the recommendation of the working group to move to a device-independent broadcasting charge in the medium term.
In the first instance, it is an issue for RTÉ's board and executive to develop the optimum strategy to allow it to meet its strategic and financial challenges. RTÉ is reviewing its strategy in order to map out a sustainable future. It has engaged PwC to validate aspects of the strategy and has met representatives from the BAI. At the Department's request, NewERA is also evaluating RTÉ's position and strategy.
On the additional question posed by Deputy Dooley, no additional funding is provided for RTÉ in this year's budget.