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Licence fee “to end in 2027” (Read 1017 times)
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Licence fee “to end in 2027”
Jan 16th, 2022, 7:07pm
This is taken from the Daily Mirror:

Anger as Tories set to axe BBC licence fee from 2028 - and freeze £159 bill for two years
BBC chiefs will have to find billions in cuts if the £159-a-year levy is frozen - while Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the announcement on the licence fee up to 2027 'will be the last'
By Ben Glaze,  Deputy Political Editor, DAILY MIRROR, 16 Jan 2022

The BBC licence fee will be frozen for two years - forcing the corporation to make even more cuts, it was claimed today.

The threat comes amid mounting Tory anger at what some MPs see as “BBC bias”, and as the Conservatives intensify the “culture wars”.

Meanwhile Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries warned the corporation the next licence fee settlement - which will take it to the end of 2027 - “will be the last” .

It comes amid mounting questions about how it should be funded compared with streaming channels like Amazon and Netflix and subscription stations like Sky Sports.

She tweeted: “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."

Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell said: “The cat is out of the bag. The Prime Minister thinks those reporting on his rule breaking should pay consequences, whilst he gets off free.

"The Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary seem hell-bent on attacking this great British institution because they don’t like its journalism.”

Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone added: “This latest Tory attack on the BBC threatens to destroy a service which is respected around the world for its high quality content.

“Freezing the license fee represents a stealth cut of almost £2billion that will put services, including local radio stations and children's programming, at risk.

“What’s worse, there is no clarity about the future and threadbare funding will only further chip away at our cherished national broadcaster.

“The Government must stop this reckless ideological crusade and back off our BBC.”

The licence fee is set by the Government, which announced in 2016 that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 2017.

The current cost of £159-a-year is likely to remain for the next two years, according to reports.

But with inflation running at 5.1%, it means Auntie would have to slash staff or programming to deal with the real-terms funding cut.

If the licence fee rose with inflation, the cost would be £167.

After two years at the same rate, it would have hit £175.

“'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,” an ally of Ms Dorries told the Mail on Sunday.

“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.”

A BBC source said: “There has been similar speculation before.

“There are very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public, and the creative industries and the UK around the world.

“Anything less than inflation would put unacceptable pressure on the BBC finances after years of cuts.”

A Culture Department source said licence fee discussions were ongoing, and claimed Ms Dorries “recognised pressure on people's wallets”.

They added: “The licence fee is an important bill for people on low incomes/pensioners and one the Government can directly control.”

The Tories have been heavily criticised for betraying over-75s who received free TV licences.

The party pledged at the 2017 election to maintain the benefit for the rest of that Parliament, which was due to run for five years.

But the BBC had already been handed responsibility for funding the concession from summer 2020, under a deal agreed in 2015.

The corporation introduced means-testing after warning that keeping licences free for all over-75s would cost £745million by 2021-22.

Only over-75s who receive pension credit have been eligible for free licences since August 2020. An estimated 3.7 million have to pay.

The Mirror is campaigning to restore free licences for the over-75s.
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