§ Mr. Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the television licence would cost at current prices if it had remained at the real level at the time of the Post Office Act 1969; how many applications he or the licence records office receives in a year for a refund and how many were granted in 1985; why the administrative costs preclude a refund system similar to that for vehicle excise duty; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
The television licence fees in 1969 were £6 (monochrome) and £11 (colour), the real equivalents of which would now be about £33 and £60. The current fees of £18 and £58 cover the three-year period from 28 March 1985. Comprehensive records about refunds and refund applications are not kept. It is estimated that about 13,000 refunds a year are made on the ground that a licence is no longer needed within 28 days of its issue (or its due date of issue if it is a renewal). We have no present plans to introduce refund arrangements similar to those which have applied for a number of years to vehicle excise duty, in the light not only of the administrative costs involved, but of the loss of licence revenue to the BBC.