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Ex-BBC chairman backs delay in decriminalising license fee dodgers

Ex-BBC chairman Lord Grade has come under fire for backing a delay in moves to decriminalise those who refuse to pay the TV license fee.

Government ministers are seeking to make non-payment of the levy a civil rather than a criminal offence after ministers voted in favour of reform last year. A Lords amendment however, backed by Grade, would delay implementation of the Deregulation Bill until April 2017 at the earliest.

MPs must decide whether to back the amendment if the Lords vote in favour of it or mount a prolonged fight with the Lords to have it overturned, although with the clock ticking toward the general election there may not be sufficient time to have it overturned.

The current license fee stands at £145.50 per year for a colour set but in 2012 alone 155,000 people were fined for non-payment and 60 were sent to jail.

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