Licence Fee Needs Updating, BBC Boss To Argue

BBC boss Tony Hall is expected to warn the corporation is at “a crossroads” and that the licence fee should be updated.

In a speech, the director general is to argue adapting the levy for the internet age is “vital”.

Mr Hall is set to highlight a recent report by MPs which called for changes to the licence fee to include its catch-up iPlayer service and also suggested an alternative to the current system.

The preferred option of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee was for a universal household levy, regardless of whether people watched television or not.

Mr Hall will tell his audience at New Broadcasting House in central London: “We’ve always said that the licence fee should be updated to reflect changing times.

“I welcome the committee’s endorsement of our proposal to make people pay the licence fee even if they only watch catch-up television.

“The committee has suggested another route to modernising the licence fee – a universal household levy.

“Both proposals have the same goal in mind: adapting the licence fee for the internet age.

“This is vital. Because I believe we need and we will need what the licence fee – in whatever form – makes happen more than ever.”

In their report, members of the select committee said the licence fee, which was not currently required to watch iPlayer, must be changed to cover “catch-up television as soon as possible”.

It went on: “The German model of a broadcasting levy on all households is our preferred alternative to the TV licence.

“Such a levy on all households would obviate the need to identify evaders and would be a fairer way of ensuring those people who use only BBC radio and online services contribute to their costs.

“A broadcasting levy which applied to all households regardless of whether or not householders watched live television would help support the use of a small proportion of the revenue raised for funding public service content and services by others, enhancing plurality.”

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2 March 2015 | 3:43 am – Source: orange.co.uk

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