BBC licence fee on the brink: TV tax faces SCRAP as new probe launched into future


How to fund the national broadcaster going forward will be considered by the House of Lords communications and digital committee. Peers will look at the purpose of the BBC, how the corporation should prepare for the future, and the best way to carry out consultations on funding.

The inquiry is set to also consider if the licence fee is still fit for the modern ears given changing consumer habits and the rise of online streaming services such as Netflix.

Britons are currently required to cough up £159 a year to pay for a television licence fee.

Around £3.6billion of the £5billion annual income raised by the funding model goes towards keeping the BBC afloat.

Baroness Stowell of Beeston, chair of the committee, said: “The broadcasting landscape is shifting rapidly, with intense competition, rising production costs and changing viewing habits.

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“Developments in technology have led to increasing choice for people about what they watch, how and when.

“Our inquiry will look at this changing media landscape and examine how the BBC should be funded in the future to deliver what is needed from a national public service broadcaster.”

The inquiry’s launch comes after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries signalled last month that she wanted to scrap the licence fee.

Funding for the BBC is protected by Royal Charter, which sets out the broadcaster’s terms of operation.

Royal Charters run for 10 years, with the current BBC agreement ending in 2027.

It means talks will soon need to begin on the future of the corporation beyond the current deal.

READ MORE: Brits rage at cost of BBC TV licence – ‘It’s become a luxury!’

The next day she appeared to water down her language and said the future of the licence fee would be determined after a public consultation.

“The decision as to what the future funding model looks like is up for discussion,” she said.

“There are a number of ways I have been told already that we could fund the BBC going forward.

“It’s not for me to decide until we have all the information and all the evidence.”

A Commons select committee report published last year suggested there was no chance of the licence fee model being replaced until at least 2038.

The digital, culture, media and sport select committee said the failure to find a viable alternative form of funding had left the Government with no choice but to continue with the current model. has contacted the BBC for comment on the launch of the new inquiry.


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