Politics

BBC licence fee on brink: Broadcaster under pressure to axe crippling levy – major review

Patrick Christys criticises BBC TV Licence fee

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Negotiations are taking place between the Government and the BBC to determine the cost of the licence fee between 2022 and 2027. Under the terms of the Royal Charter that sets out the corporation’s remit, the fee has risen in line with inflation since 2017.

However, the pricing for the second half of the 10 year charter period is still yet to be announced.

Negotiations were taking place between the Government and the BBC in November, with it thought ministers were pushing for a two-year freeze in the licence fee cost.

Campaigners at the pressure group Defund the BBC have warned any rise in the cost would be unforgivable at a time when the tax burden is at its highest rate in 70 years.

Rebecca Ryan, campaign director, told Express.co.uk: “There are more repeats playing out than original content on the BBC.

“So, I think demanding an increase in the licence fee is completely unacceptable when people aren’t getting value for money.

“And with the economic impact of the Government’s Covid policies and also the green agenda leading to tax increases, how much money is there actually left in people’s pay packets to have to then keep this broadcaster afloat?”

Those watching linear TV are required to pay £159 a year at present.

It gives the corporation £3.2billion budget a year.

Ms Ryan warned a freeze in the fee is the least that should be offered as she urged ministers to go further to start the process of commercialising the corporation.

She said: “The BBC is really bad value for money as it is.

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“The Government certainly shouldn’t support an increase in the licence fee.

“They actually need to go in completely the opposite direction and edge the BBC toward being 100 percent commercial.

“It just doesn’t work any more as a model.

“Now is the time for the BBC to take the plunge and tap into its global audience that it likes to talk about and give Netflix and Amazon Prime a run for their money.”

A BBC source previously told The Telegraph on funding: ‘There is currently no licence fee deal agreement.

“Once there is, it is for the Government to announce the terms to parliament at the appropriate time.

“The BBC cannot comment on speculation.

“For our part, we understand the financial challenges people are facing, but there are also very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public, the creative industries and the UK around the world.”

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