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Ministers will review how the TV licence fee is paid due to concerns that too many people are ending up in court.

The review will be led by culture secretary Sajid Javid. He will question whether the payment system is working, after it was revealed that more than 10 per cent of all cases heard by magistrates concern TV licences.

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Rona Fairhead from the BBC Trust – the body that makes sure the BBC stays independent, provides high quality output, and gives good value to licence fee payers – will also give her thoughts to the Commons Media Select Committee on the regulation and funding of the BBC.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have said that not paying the licence fee shouldn't be a criminal offence.

Then there's also the matter that people watching catch-up services like BBC iPlayer don't need a licence, as long as they don't watch it live.

Javid told the Royal Television Society: "In 2012/13, almost 200,000 people ended up in court accused of not buying a TV licence. More than 50 went to prison.

"When over 10 per cent of magistrates' court cases concern this one offence, you have to ask whether the current system is really working. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

"The government is committed to launching a review of decriminalisation once the Deregulation Bill receives Royal Assent. But we can't afford to wait that long. This needs to begin now.

"Very shortly I will be publishing the terms of reference for a review of TV licence enforcement. I expect it to begin taking evidence in the autumn, and to conclude early in the next Parliament."

Source: Digital Spy

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