Conservative MP hits out at BBC licence fee

John Whittingdale, Conservative MP and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s chairman, has said the BBC’s television licence fee is “worse than poll tax”. Mr Whittingdale suggested that the fee must be tweaked as soon as possible to reflect changed viewing habits.

Whittingdale's views follow culture secretary Sajid Javid's remarks earlier in the year that suggested the fee could be reduced if the Conservatives remain in power after next year's general election.

Participating in a panel with Ben Stephenson, the BBC's controller of drama, Mr Whittingdale sent out a clear message on his views for the BBC's current funding methods. Explaining that he sees the fee as unsustainable in the long term, Mr Whittingdale added: "I think most people, almost everybody, accepts that the licence fee as it currently stands need some tweaking to sort out anomalies. People's viewing habits have changed and it needs to reflect that."

He went on to express that an appealing possibility was to follow other nations who link the cost to household tax, such as council tax.

At a cost of £145.50 per year, and being a criminal offence not to pay, British residents have to find the money for the fee even if they don't watch BBC channels but utilise alternative TV packages instead. Any attempt at eliminating the fee as it stands would undoubtedly be welcomed by many. However, the BBC's Mr Stephenson warned that the BBC was currently the "envy of the world", and wouldn't be able to maintain its current output if fees were cut.

Source: The Telegraph

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