- 7:43, 29 Apr 2022
- Updated: 7:43, 29 Apr 2022
THE BBC licence fee faces being SCRAPPED under ministers’ plans to overhaul the “completely outdated” £159-a-year system.
The Government said there were “clear challenges” involved in keeping the telly tax ahead of a landmark review of BBC funding.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries yesterday warned BBC bosses: “The licence fee model was introduced in 1946. Time has moved on.”
Her 42-page White Paper announcing the shake-up tore into the licence fee for criminalising people who refuse to pay.
It also pointed out that fewer and fewer people want to pay for BBC programmes in an on-demand age of Netflix and Prime.
The warning document says: “An increasing number of households are choosing not to hold a TV licence, as fewer people choose to watch live TV or other activities that require a TV licence.
“Should this trend continue as expected there are clear challenges on the horizon to the sustainability of the licence fee.”
While Ms Dorries has not settled on a plan to future fund the BBC a decision is due in time for its renewal in 2027.
But she assured The Spectator’s Women with Balls podcast that the “completely outdated” £159-a-year funding model would be redesigned.
The Culture Secretary is also revealing how ministers plan to privatise Channel 4 and ensure firms create “distinctly British” shows in a new broadcasting whitepaper.
Ministers will also consider ripping up ancient rules around broadcasting sports – allowing digital streaming giants to get access to major events too.
It could mean that the Olympics could be shown to wider audiences online as well as on traditional channels like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.
Beefed up new rules will give the broadcasting watchdog more powers to stop Brits being lured into pseudoscience documentaries or fake news on Netflix or other on-demand streaming services.
Viewers will be able to complain to Ofcom about things they see on Disney +, Netflix or Apple TV, not just traditional telly channels, with huge fines for breaking the rules.
And they will be able to slap on age ratings too – with huge fines for breaching the rules.
The fee is set by the government and has risen in line with inflation every year since 2017.
Tory MPs argue that it should be reduced owing to the success of paid-for streaming services such as Netflix.
But the Beeb has warned it will struggle to meet the rising cost of programming if the fee does not go up at a similar rate.
You don’t need a TV licence to own or have a TV set.
However, watching live TV or catch-up through the BBC iPlayer on any device without a TV licence is a criminal offence and if you’re caught, you could be fined up to £1,000.