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You won't have to buy a TV licence for your laptop, PC or tablet

The idea to extend the TV licence fee to other devices has been scrapped by Denis Naughten.

Image: Shutterstock/AlesiaKan

THE IDEA TO apply the TV licence fee to computers, laptops, and large tablets has been scrapped by Communications Minister Denis Naughten.

In March, it was proposed that the €160 annual charge be extended to electronic devices with screen sizes over 11 inches.

However, it’s understood the minister has rejected the department’s advice and abandoned the scheme as it would be too difficult to enforce.

The initiative was originally proposed due to the change in the public’s viewing habits, with many people using devices other than a TV set to view their favourite programmes.

“We have people, one in eight people say they don’t have a TV and don’t watch TV. Many of those people are accessing content on RTÉ or TV3,” the minister told TheJournal.ie last month.

The idea to extend the TV licence to other devices was floated due to our UK counterparts introducing such measures last year.

TV licence evasion 

The broadcasting bill, which is due to be brought to Cabinet next week, will include the roll-out of the new tender process for the recruitment of television licence ‘enforcers’.

The collectors will be tasked with collecting unpaid fees, which amount to around €40 million every year.

An Post currently has responsibility for TV licence inspections, however, it’s understood that this is a loss-making job for the organisation.

A government source said An Post are welcome to apply for the tender, and expressions of interest have already been made.

It’s believed the department is anxious to introduce the new system of TV licence ‘enforcers’ as a similar programme in the UK resulted in a reduction in TV licence fee evasion.

Naughten has said the level of payment evasion has reached “unacceptable levels”.

While the rate has fallen from 15.3% at the end of 2013 to the current rate of 13.75%, it is still very high, said the minister.

A source said it is certainly not the case that the enforcers will take the form of debt collectors knocking on people’s doors.

In addition, it has been confirmed the bill will scrap or reduce a levy for local radio stations.

It is stressed that all these measures are subject to approval by Cabinet.

Read: Hospital patient ‘no shows’ are costing the State nearly €12m>

Read: Varadkar says he understands TDs reluctance to sit on Eighth Amendment committee>

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