Can the Secretary of State exempt people over 75 requiring a TV licence under section 363 of the UK's Communications Act 2003?

I don't have any legal background but below is an extract from Communications Act 2003 at section 363 (the link has more readable formatting).


Communcitaion act 2003

363 Licence required for use of TV receiver

(1)A television receiver must not be installed or used unless the installation and use of the receiver is authorised by a licence under this Part.

(2)A person who installs or uses a television receiver in contravention of subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.

(3)A person with a television receiver in his possession or under his control who—

(a)intends to install or use it in contravention of subsection (1), or

(b)knows, or has reasonable grounds for believing, that another person intends to install or use it in contravention of that subsection,

is guilty of an offence.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(5)Subsection (1) is not contravened by anything done in the course of the business of a dealer in television receivers solely for one or more of the following purposes—

(a)installing a television receiver on delivery;

(b)demonstrating, testing or repairing a television receiver.

(6)The Secretary of State may by regulations exempt from the requirement of a licence under subsection (1) the installation or use of television receivers—

(a)of such descriptions,

(b)by such persons,

(c)in such circumstances, and

(d)for such purposes,

as may be provided for in the regulations.

(7)Regulations under subsection (6) may make any exemption for which such regulations provide subject to compliance with such conditions as may be specified in the regulations.

3 Answers 3


Can the Secretary of State exempt people over 75 requiring a TV licence?


s.363(6) introduces the power to exempt those listed at (a) to (d) by way of Regulations.

s.6, paragraph 1 of the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 states:

No fee shall be payable for a TV licence of a type referred to in the first or second entry in column 1 of the table in Schedule 1 where—

(a) the licence is issued to a person aged 75 years or more or to a person who will attain that age in the calendar month in which the licence is issued; and

(b) the single place, vehicle, vessel or caravan specified in the licence is the sole or main residence of that person.


The first and second entries in column 1 at Schedule 1 refer to black and white or colour TVs in a domestic setting or business purposes. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/692/schedule/1?timeline=false

  • Thank you, but then how did the BBC change it to require only those on universal credit and over 75 be exempt?
    – rosh3000
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 18:36
  • And do regulations need to go back and forth through commons and lords etc?
    – rosh3000
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 18:37
  • Sincere apologies to SE users if my multiple answers to the OP's multiple questions is not within the rules (or spirit) of SE.
    – user35069
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 19:03

How did the BBC change it to require only those on universal credit and over 75 be exempt?

The BBC used the provisions at s.365A(1) of the Act to make a determination:

For the purposes of section 365(1A) the BBC may determine that a concession in specified terms is to apply.


The BBC website says this about that determination:

Following a public consultation, the BBC Board has decided that from August 2020 any household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit will be entitled to a free TV licence paid for by the BBC.Currently all households with people over 75 are entitled to a free TV licence. That Government-funded scheme - which is expected to cost £745m by 2021/22 - comes to an end in 2020. The BBC was given responsibility – through legislation - for deciding on any future scheme and to pay for it. https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/reports/consultation/age-related-tv-licence-policy#consultationresponsesandsupportingevidence


Do Regulations need to go back and forth through the Houses of Commons and Lords?

No, the power to create secondary legislation (such as Regulations) is delegated to a person or body properly authorised by primary legislation (ie Acts of Parliament).

  • Note that the enabling Act will specify who can make particular regulations. If those regulations are made by a minister, they are likely to to require either approval by both Houses of Parliament (affirmative procedure), or either House will have the option to veto the regulations within a certain amount of time (negative procedure). In this case, section 402 of the Act specifies which procedure should be used, and it appears to be the negative procedure for regulations made under section 363. Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 9:17

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