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‘So what if they go bust?’ BBC faces furious calls for TV licence to be scrapped | UK | News UK News

A former MEP has slammed the proposed hike of the BBC licence fee to more than £170 saying it’s a tax on the British people and should be scrapped.

The mandatory charge for watching the BBC is thought to be rising by nine percent in April taking the annual rate to around £173, following an agreement with the government to freeze the fee for the past two years.

But Reform UK deputy leader Ben Habib tore into the national broadcaster saying he believed rather than the licence fee going up it should be cancelled altogether.

He said: “I think the BBC should all of its licence fee income cancelled. I can’t see a justification for it.

“It’s effectively a taxation on the British people and if it’s going to be a taxation on the British people, the BBC should be providing a public service.

“And I don’t the BBC provides anything beyond any other news channel, or any other channel for that matter.

“I often find myself watching GB News to find out what’s going on in the world, a much broader perspective than what (the) BBC has, which increasingly pumps its own ideology on the climate, it’s own ideology on immigration, it’s own ideology on Brexit, or its anti position on Brexit.”

Mr Habib concluded that he could not see “what the public service provision of the BBC is”.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has denied that the Government is “ripping up” a licence fee deal with the BBC, following reports that Rishi Sunak is set to block a nine percent hike in the annual charge.

For the past two years the licence fee has been frozen at the price of £159 but it was previously agreed it would rise in line with inflation after April 2024.

The corporation is seeking to make £500 million of savings in the face of high inflation and the two-year freeze on the fee, which provides most of its funding.

The Prime Minister has previously said that the BBC needs to be “realistic” about what people can pay “at a time like this” and the BBC should be looking to “cut its cloth appropriately” as the country continues to deal with the heightened cost of living.

Ms Frazer has said that a £15 rise in the BBC licence fee to more than £170 would be “high”.

She told Times Radio: “What that means is that we’re in a position where people are struggling with the cost of living. And as a Government, we tried very hard to make sure that those costs are low. And the licence fee is due to rise, although we froze it for two years.

“But as it rises, the BBC needs to be realistic about how much it can rise by. We want to make sure we protect licence fee payers and make sure that it just rises at an amount that people can afford.”

Asked about a rise to more than £170, she said: “Well, obviously, that’s high. This is something that we’re looking at, at the moment. And we’ll be making a decision on this in due course.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The Government and BBC agreed a six-year licence fee settlement in January 2022, which froze the licence fee for two years with increases in line with inflation from 2024.

“As is usual practice the Government sets and confirms the cost of a licence each year and this remains unconfirmed for 2024/25. The BBC will continue to focus on what it does best: working to deliver world-class content and providing great value for all audiences.”

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Source: www.express.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-12-06 10:25:00

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