Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has strongly opposed the suggested £15 hike in the BBC licence fee, deeming it “absolutely” excessive and a further strain on the cost of living. Here’s an excerpt from the BBC’s report:
The licence fee has been frozen for the last two years at £159 but is due to rise in April in line with inflation.
It’s currently expected to increase to £173.30 a year, but Ms. Frazer said she was looking at which measure of inflation to use to calculate the rise.
Asked by BBC Breakfast whether the Government was looking at whether £15 would be too much of an increase, Ms. Frazer replied: “Absolutely. I think that is quite a significant rise, so that is exactly what we are looking at.”
She added: “We froze the licence fee for two years to help households with their daily payments. That freeze has come to an end and the licence fee is due to rise with inflation but we’re looking at ways to make sure that is sustainable for families across the country.”
The Sunday Times reported that Ms. Frazer is considering using September’s consumer price index (CPI) rate of inflation, rather than the higher 12-month average, to calculate how much the cost of the licence fee should rise by.
Using September’s inflation rate of 6.7%, the licence fee would be expected to rise by £10.65 to £169.65 per year.
The Culture Secretary confirmed she would make the final decision on what the fee should be soon.
Ms. Frazer also said she was also looking at how “we fund the BBC going forward”.
“It’s unsustainable because 400,000 people did not renew their licence fee over the last year. The media landscape is changing. We’re not consuming the BBC like we used to consume it, so I’m also looking at a broader review,” she said. …
Members of the public have been sharing their opinions on the planned increase to the licence fee on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Craig from Oxford told broadcast Nicky Campbell he does not watch enough BBC content to justify the cost of the licence fee and would “much rather pay less to stream just what I want, it’s about offering people choice”.
Janey from Northampton agreed, and added “to take away people’s choice is not how we should be running the law of the land”, saying the licence fee is not value for money as she does not watch any BBC programmes on the TV.
Worth reading in full.