BBC IPlayer Catch-Up Users Will Now Have To Pay Licence Fee
All users of BBC iPlayer's catch-up service will have to pay the £145.50 licence fee, the Government announced today.
In a big blow to many households without TVs, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that he would bring forward legislation swiftly to allow the Corporation to charge for the first time for those who replay programmes on demand.
As part of the plan to let the BBC recoup £150m in losses caused by iPlayer catch-up, many younger Britons who watch the BBC on their laptop or tablet will now face the annual fee or face prosecution.
However, Mr Whittingdale said that decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee will be "carefully considered" by the government this summer.
The crackdown on the iPlayer loophole is part of a controversial deal that will allow the BBC to recoup some of the cash it will lose from having to foot the bill for free TV licences for the over-75s.
The Culture Secretary told MPs that the BBC taking over the £650m cost of the free licences would be phased in from 2018-19 with the corporation bearing the full cost by 2020-21.
Labour's Shadow Culture Secretary Chris Bryant attacked the plans as 'shabby backroom deal', while Former BBC reporter and Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw also rounded on the announcement, claiming it was "a significant assault.
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