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Communications Act 2003

Section 347: Statement of charging principles

715.This section provides that OFCOM must not fix a tariff under section 4(3) or 87(3) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 or under section 4(3) or 43(3) of the Broadcasting Act 1996 unless at the time they do so there is in force a statement of the principles they propose to apply in fixing that tariff. Any tariff must be fixed in accordance with those principles.

716.The principles set out in any statement must be likely to secure, on the basis of such estimates of the likely costs as it is practicable for OFCOM to make, that the aggregate amount of the Broadcasting Act licence fees required to be paid to OFCOM during a financial year is sufficient to enable them to meet, but does not exceed, the annual costs of the carrying out during that year of their functions relating to the regulation of broadcasting; that tariffs are justifiable and proportionate to the matters in respect of which they are imposed; and that the relationship between meeting the cost of carrying out those functions and the tariffs applied to such fees is transparent.

  • *Broadcasting Act licence fee” means a fee required to be paid to OFCOM in pursuance of conditions included in a Broadcasting Act licence under any of the following provisions –


    section 4(1)(b) or 87(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1990; or


    section 4(1)(b) or 43(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1996.

    Financial year means a period of 12 months ending with 31st  March.

717.Subsection (3) requires that, before making or revising a statement of principles, OFCOM must consult such persons as they consider likely to be affected by those principles as they think fit. Under subsection (4), the making or revision of a statement of principles is by the publication of the statement, or revised statement, in such manner as OFCOM consider appropriate to bring it to the attention of those likely, in OFCOM’s opinion, to be affected by it.

718.Under subsections (5) and (6), OFCOM must publish a statement as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, setting out the aggregate amount of Broadcasting Act licence fees received by them which were required to be paid during that year; the aggregate amount of Broadcasting Act licence fees remaining outstanding and likely to be paid or recovered; and, the costs to OFCOM of carrying out their functions in relation to the regulation of broadcasting during that year. Any deficit or surplus must be carried forward by OFCOM and taken into account in determining the amount required in relation to the following year.

719.References to OFCOM’s functions in relation to the regulation of broadcasting do not include any of their functions in relation to the BBC or Welsh Authority.

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