‘The days of state-run TV are over’ as Culture Secretary indicates BBC licence fee will be axed

Nadine Dorries. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street.

The next announcement about the BBC licence fee “will be the last,” Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said, amid reports it will be frozen for the next two years.

The BBC licence fee currently earns the corporation £3.2 billion a year. 

However, tense negotiations between the Government and the BBC over the cost of the annual fee until the end of 2027 have concluded, with the Culture Secretary deciding to hold the licence at £159 for the next two years.

BBC officials state due to inflation currently running at 5.1 per cent, the Corporation would therefore have to find savings of more than £2 billion over the next six years.

In response Nadine Dorries has indicated a new funding model is needed for the BBC after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

She wrote on Twitter:

“This licence fee announcement will be the last.

“The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over.

“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

The move comes after a series of rows with Ministers over the BBC’s alleged Left-wing bias. Senior Government figures are said to be “incensed by its coverage of Boris Johnson’s apology to MPs for the Downing Street lockdown party,” complaining it “feels like the BBC isn’t going to stop until he’s gone.”

The BBC has previously come under fire over the abolition of free TV licences for all over-75s, with a grace period on payment because of the Covid-19 pandemic having ended on July 31.

Only those who receive pension credit do not have to pay the annual sum.

A BBC source told the Sunday Times:

“There are very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public and the creative industries, and the (profile of the) UK around the world.

“Anything less than inflation would put unacceptable pressure on the BBC finances after years of cuts.”

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