UK households struggling financially will receive extra support if they cannot pay for their TV licence under BBC plans.

Every household in the UK is legally required to have a TV licence if they watch or record live TV, regardless of what channel it is on.

People struggling during the cost of living crisis will be offered a two-month breathing space if they are at risk of facing enforcement action for not paying their TV licence.

While more people who do not have a TV licence will be offered payment plans in order to spread the cost out.

Impartial Reporter:

The support plan aims to reduce the number of women who are prosecuted for licence fee evasion following the BBC’s gender disparity review which was set up to understand why 75% of those prosecuted are women.

The review, which was overseen by independent adviser Baroness Lola Young, found the disparity is largely caused by societal factors and there is no evidence that TV Licensing deliberately discriminates against any group.

Baroness Young of Hornsey said: “The BBC’s action plan has the potential to lead to fewer people – particularly those in real financial difficulty – being prosecuted and that is something to be welcomed.

“This was a rigorous review which scrutinised a raft of new evidence and concluded there is no single source of the disproportionality that we see in prosecutions.

“As I have said in the report, women and men do not appear to be treated differently.

“Rather, the societal factors at play are also often present alongside disparities in the criminal justice system, and health and other services.”

Clare Sumner, BBC director of policy, added: “While we know societal factors drive the gender disparity, we’re committed to making improvements to our own processes wherever possible.

“Our action plan will improve support for people in real financial difficulty to help them stay licensed and reduce risk of prosecution. We look forward to the new partnership with StepChange and we will closely monitor its impact.

“I would like to thank all those who contributed to the review and Baroness Lola Young for her independent scrutiny and oversight.”