One in ten Scottish households avoids TV licence fee

This week’s revelation by The Times that 10% of Scottish households avoid paying their TV licence raises the question of whether the BBC is effectively providing for a Scottish audience.

While the BBC Annual Report claims that “it’s been a great year for Scottish content”, audiences in Scotland expressed that the extent to which the BBC provides for their part of the UK is lower than the rest of the UK.

BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. (Photo credit: Stevie Spiers)

The difference, however, is not significant. UK wide, 56% of adults think the BBC is effective at reflecting people like them, and 53% of adults in Scotland say the same.

Furthermore, 55% of UK adults say the BBC is effective at reflecting the part of the UK they live in.


Last year saw a variety of Scottish productions from the BBC, including the murder mystery Shetland and documentary series Island Medics, as well as the announcement that comedy classic Still Game is returning this year.

Despite this, the BBC’s spending in Scotland during 2017/18 had a sharp decrease from the year before.

While in 2016/17, £233 million was spent in Scotland, 2017/18 experienced a decrease of £10.4 million.

An analysis done by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) in 2016 found that out of the £320 million raised from the licence fee in Scotland, just over half of that money was spent on investing across platforms and channels in Scotland.


Looking over to Northern Ireland and Wales, 75% and 95% of licence revenue were spent in the countries respectively.

According to the BBC Report, the spending on Scotland will increase this year, which is to be expected with the launch of the new BBC Scotland channel next month.

Last year, half of the Scottish adults viewed dedicated Scottish news services on BBC Television each week. The new channel will bring Scotland news from a Scottish perspective and reflect on Scottish life through contemporary programmes.

A spokesperson from TV Licensing says that they do not speculate on future evasion rates as they use a number of factors to calculate them.

“TV Licensing’s estimated evasion rate has remained broadly the same over the last three financial years. Our figures show the rate was between 6%-7% for 2016-17, and 6.5%-7.5% for 2017-18. Changes of less than one per cent are not significant.”



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