§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were imprisoned following non-payment of the television licence fee in each year since 1990; and what was the average length of sentence for those imprisoned. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Michael Brown, dated 19 June 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about people who were imprisoned following non-payment of their television fee for every year since 1990; and what was the average length of sentence for those imprisoned.Information on the number of fine defaulters received into Prison Service establishments in England and Wales for the years 1991–1994, by offence group is published in "Prison statistics, England and Wales" (Table 7.3 of the 1994 edition, Cm 3087), a copy of which is available in the library. No information is available prior to 1991 for non-payment of fines for using a television without a licence because the offence was not separately identified in the prison statistics. Provisional information for 1995 shows that some 730 persons (500 males and 230 females) were received into prison for defaulting on a fine after conviction for using a television without a licence. The average time imposed was 10 days for males and 9 days for females.