HC Deb 11 February 1997 vol 290 c107W
Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what estimate she has made of the extra revenue which the BBC will receive as a result of its decision to implement the legal advice that a TV licence cannot cover more than one property. [15419]

Mr. Sproat

The BBC announced on 29 March 1996 that, in the light of legal advice, it could not continue the long-standing previous practice whereby the use of TV in second homes was deemed to be covered by a licence for the main residence, provided that there was no simultaneous use at both places. At that time, the Licensing Authority had some 38,000 second homes registered as not needing a second licence under that— incorrect—interpretation of the licensing legislation. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will shortly lay new, consolidated licence fee regulations, which will bring next year's licence fees into force from 1 April. These regulations will also amend the licensing requirements so that a licence for a main residence covers use of TV by members of the household in any vehicle, vessel or touring caravan and, provided there is no simultaneous use, by any member of the household in any static caravan or mobile home. Use of TV in permanent structure second homes will continue to require a separate licence.

If TV continues to be used at all the 38,000 second homes previously registered with the Licensing Authority as not requiring a separate licence, this should raise over £3 million extra licence fee revenue for the BBC each year. If colour licences were needed, and paid for, in all the fixed second homes in the United Kingdom—an estimated total of some 200,000—the maximum extra revenue accruing would be around £18 million, though some of these homes may already by licensed.