§ 40. Mr. Gibson-Watt
asked the Postmaster-General what further steps he is taking to improve the collection of television licences.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his Answer, but will he now tell the House what steps he intends to take to get this money, payment of which is being evaded? It would amount to about £10 million. Unless he can secure this money, is the B.B.C. to come to him next time and ask him to put the television licence fee up?
§ Mr. Benn
This is a serious problem. As the hon. Gentleman knows, a dealers' scheme is under consideration. We have doubled the number of detector cars on the road. As I told the House earlier, we estimate that 250,000 licences were taken out in 1964, the last year for which we have complete figures, as a result of these methods. The difficulty is that this is a cosily business; the administrative costs in dealing with television licences are very high and, beyond a certain point, they tend really to be too expensive.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
Will my right hon. Friend consider raising the penalties for non-payment to a very high level?