Philip Davies says the BBC licence fee should be 'scrapped'
This year marks the mid-way point in the corporation’s ten-year royal charter that guarantees how the BBC will be funded until 2027. In 2016 it was agreed the national broadcaster would continue to receive funding through the compulsory licence fee which must be paid by all those who watch live TV.
With a half-way review of the current royal charter set to take place this year, campaign group Defund the BBC believes 2021 could be the beginning of the end of the “archaic” funding model.
Campaign Director Rebecca Ryan is hoping the future of the funding model beyond 2027 will be considered in the investigation into how the corporation is performing.
She told Express.co.uk: “The Government did manage to build into the mid-term review that they would be able to start talking about funding.
“The funding model is guaranteed until the end of this charter, but they are allowed to start talking about how it will move forward beyond that point.”
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Critics of the licence fee have accused the £157.50 a year cost of being out of date in a world with increased competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
They argue Brits are forced to cough up money to fund for the BBC even if they do not enjoy the programmes produced by the broadcaster.
A new survey from the polling organisation YouGov has found 48 percent of Brits do not believe the BBC adequately represent their views.
The figure represents a drastic drop in support for the broadcaster since the start of the current royal charter in 2016 when 62 percent of the public had a favourable view of the BBC.
Flagship programmes for the broadcaster have also split opinion, with many licence fee payers infuriated at the decision to renew the comedy show Mrs Brown’s Boys for a further six years, and others accusing the corporation of making the family classic Dr Who too political.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said he was “certainly looking at” scrapping the BBC’s funding model.
Ms Ryan wants the charter review to be the moment the Government commits to reform.
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She said: “What we’re looking for from the Government is a commitment to cancel the licence fee.
“Or if they want to have a licence fee, to have it disconnect from live TV.
“If they want to have a licence fee that protects the BBC Word Service and radio and those essentials, then fine.
“But it must be disconnected from live TV because it’s just too archaic a system.”
A BBC spokesman has defended the licence fee funding model and dais the organisation remained committed to representing all Brits.
They said: “The licence fee continues to ensure that the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, committed to serving everyone.
“It is the agreed method of funding until at least 2027.”
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