Liz Truss has declared she will look to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence.
Watching television or BBC iPlayer without a £159-a-year licence currently can lead to a court appearance and a £1,000 fine – or even jail if the fine is not paid.
The leadership hopeful has said that she is concerned about the number of women falling foul of this law.
Truss is correct that the offence is more likely to involve women than men.
Over 22 per cent of all crimes committed by women in 2020 were due to licence fee evasion.
In comparison, only 2.15 per cent of all crimes committed by men were licence fee evasion.
She told The Mail+: “What I’m very concerned about on the TV licence fee is how many women have ended up in prison for non-payment, a disproportionate number.
“I want to look at how we can make sure that we reform the TV licence fee, so we don’t end up with those punitive results.
“I’ll look at all the options… I do want to reform the way it works.”
So how many women are currently in prison for not paying?
Well, according to a BBC spokesman, nobody!
They said: “There is always a debate to be had about the best way to manage non-payment of the licence fee, but the independent Perry Review [of 2015] found the current system to be fair and proportionate, and according to the latest Ministry of Justice figures, nobody is in prison for not paying the licence fee.”‘
Sunak Channel 4
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak will proceed with the sale of Channel 4 if he succeeds Boris Johnson as prime minister – saying privatisation would help the broadcaster compete with streaming giants.
The former chancellor is locked in a leadership race with Liz Truss to become the next Conservative Party leader and PM.
Plans to take Channel 4 out of public ownership, announced earlier this year, have been criticised by the creative industry and politicians.
The Government said the broadcaster will struggle to survive in a media landscape increasingly dominated by the likes of Netflix and has been overly reliant on declining TV advertising to support its business.
Philippa Childs, head of broadcasting union Bectu, described the announcement as “incredibly disappointing” and said it suggests Mr Sunak “does not understand why the Channel 4 model is so successful and why there is such unified and vehement industry opposition to the sale”.
She said: “Channel 4 is a hugely successful public service broadcaster, consistently pushing the boundaries of entertainment and thought-provoking content for British audiences.
“This success is built on the back of the current model, which supports a thriving independent production sector and allows commissioners a degree of risk and creativity, of which the viewing public reap the benefits.
“Make no mistake – privatisation which will have major consequences for the UK broadcasting landscape, for the jobs of UK freelancers and for the UK’s creative economy.”