Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has frozen the annual £159 TV license fee for the next two years to cut costs for households, and has warned that the freeze was just the first step on her “roadmap for reform of the BBC”. She said: “The BBC must be a simpler, leaner organisation that offers better value to license fee payers.”
Officials calculate that – due to inflation currently running at 5.1 percent – the corporation will have to find savings of more than £2 billion over the next six years. The licence fee currently earns the corporation £3.2 billion a year. An ally of Ms Dorries told The Mail on Sunday: “There will be a lot of anguished noises about how it will hit popular programmes, but they can learn to cut waste like any other business. This will be the last BBC licence fee negotiation ever. Work will start next week on a mid-term review to replace the Charter with a new funding formula. It’s over for the BBC as they know it.”
They added: “Nadine wants to continue to produce high-quality British television – she doesn’t want it all to come from America – but the days of state-run TV are over.
“It is not yet clear whether the future will be shared ownership or subscription, but there will be no more licence fee renewals as long as Boris is Prime Minister.
“The new generation of 19- to 34-year-olds are watching YouTube, Netflix and videos on demand – they don’t watch the BBC, and shouldn’t be forced to pay for it. Nor should hard-working households or pensioners.”
BBC executives argued freezing the licence fee will damage the BBC’s ability to produce hit programmes such as Line of Duty and David Attenborough’s nature series.
Do you think they should cut the wages of some of their highest-paid stars? Have your say in the comments section.
The BBC’s top 10 highest earning on-air stars in 2020/21 included:
- Gary Lineker – £1.36m
- Zoe Ball – £1.13m (accounting for voluntary pay cut midway through the year)
- Steve Wright – £465,000
- Huw Edwards – £425,000
- Fiona Bruce – £405,000
- Stephen Nolan – £405,000
- Lauren Laverne – £395,000
- Vanessa Feltz – £390,000
- Alan Shearer – £390,000
- Scott Mills – £375,000
READ MORE: Monty Don bids farewell in “personal conclusion” to BBC series
The major cut comes after many Tory MPs have accused the BBC of left-wing bias, particularly in its coverage of the Downing Street Covid parties scandal.
Tory MPs recently complained about a series of comments from Today presenter Nick Robinson, which included him asking whether Mr Johnson’s apology to the Commons for his attendance at a drinks gathering was “really was an apology”.
Mr Robinson, who was interviewing Cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis, also said “most people,” thought the Prime Minister was only saying sorry because he had been caught out and that the Prime Minister’s focus had “always been on blaming other people for his behaviour”.
Ms Dorries has previously branded the BBC a “left-wing”, “hypocritical” and “patronising” organisation which has too many “dull, boring, male and ageing wig-wearing men” on presenting duties.
Do you agree with her? Let us know more of your opinion in the comments section below.
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