Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, has called for the decriminalisation of TV licence fee evasion, according to the lead story in tomorrow's The Sunday Telegraph.
Mr Gove is said to have raised concerns with Cabinet colleagues about the number of TV licence cases clogging up the criminal court system.
Under current legislation a TV licence is required for every property where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast to the wider public.
In 2013, the last full year for which figures are available, some 178,300 people were prosecuted by the BBC - the statutory Television Licensing Authority - for receiving TV programmes without a valid TV licence.
The maximum penalty for TV licence evasion is a fine of £1,000, but most of those convicted received a considerably lower penalty. TV licence evasion is not an imprisonable offence, but some of the most vulnerable people in society are imprisoned for defaulting on their TV licence fines.
TV licence evasion accounts for almost one-in-ten of all cases heard by the Magistrates' Courts in England and Wales, with 70% of those convicted being women.
Mr Gove has previously voiced concerns about the criminal enforcement of TV licence evasion.
Speaking to the Justice Select Committee in July, he said: "To what extent can we lift the burden on Magistrates by taking some work out of court? One area which is a live area of debate is whether or not, at the bottom of the Magistrates' Courts' work, television licence non-payment should be decriminalised."
The Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale MP, is currently considering the future shape of the BBC when its Royal Charter comes up for renewal on 31st December 2016.
The topic of funding will feature heavily in negotiations.