'Abolish licence fee!' BBC under pressure as Nadine Dorries told to 'unshackle' Britons


The Culture Secretary posted on Twitter that the next announcement about the licence fee “will be the last” amid reports it will be frozen at £159 for the next two years. The TaxPayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for low taxes, insisted it is time for the BBC to “stand on its own two feet”.

Media campaign manager Danielle Boxall said: “Freezing the licence fee would be a welcome first step.

“Taxpayers facing a cost of living crisis shouldn’t be forced to pay the hated TV tax, on pain of imprisonment. Going forward, abolishing the BBC licence fee is the only real answer.

“Instead of kicking the can down the road, ministers must legislate to unshackle Auntie from the taxpayer and let the Beeb stand on its own two feet.”

Ms Dorries’ comments have also been welcomed by the Institute of Economic Affairs free market think tank.

Previous research by the IEA has called for the licence fee to be replaced with a subscription model similar to how the National Trust operated.

IEA director general Mark Littlewood said: “The Government should now legislate to bring the compulsory TV licence fee to an end by 2027, otherwise we will face five years of rearguard actions by the corporation to attempt to cling on to this outdated funding model.

“What is needed is an agreement and understanding that the licence fee will end to enable a proper debate about the best new approach to adopt, which must be one based on consent rather than coercion.

“An attractive option is to move the BBC to a membership model, similar to that of the National Trust. This would be entirely voluntary and members would democratically elect a board to pursue the BBC’s overall objectives.

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“A lingering question is whether there should be any state funding of so-called public service broadcasting – for output which may have some supposed wider value but isn’t commercially viable.

“But even if there is a case for such funding, there is no reason to ringfence it for the BBC. All broadcasters and content producers should be able to submit bids to access grants from any such pot.

“Finally, the BBC continues to fall further and further behind the broadcasting giants of Netflix and Amazon. This gap will widen until a new funding approach is found that will allow the BBC to flourish and grow its revenue stream rather than cling on to the comfort blanket of effective compulsion for its funding.

“The corporation should now help kickstart a debate about what this new funding model should look like.”

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Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Ms Dorries insisted a new funding model for the BBC was needed after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

She said: She wrote on Twitter: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over.

“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

The BBC has previously come under fire over the abolition of free TV licences for all over-75s.

Following Ms Dorries’ tweet, BBC bosses pledged to “continue to make a strong case to the Government for investing” in the corporation.

In an internal message sent to staff, director-general Tim Davie and chairman Richard Sharp said they “welcomed” debate and “look forward to engaging in a discussion about public service broadcasting in the UK and how best to fund it”.

Celebrities including actor Hugh Grant, comedians Lucas and David Baddiel, and BBC stars Gary Linekar and Dan Walker have also taken to social media to defend the Beeb.

Ms Dorries will give a statement on the BBC to MPs on Monday afternoon.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.


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