January 17, 2022 8.00 pm

Lincolnshire MPs back plans to scrap BBC licence fee

Finding a new model to fund the BBC

The BBC licence fee is set to be abolished after the Culture Secretary said the next announcement on the royal charter, which runs until the end of 2027, would be the last, with two of Lincolnshire’s MPs backing the move.

The annual licence, which is required to watch live television and access BBC iPlayer streaming services, currently costs £159 and could be a thing of the past once the royal charter guarantee runs out on December 31, 2027.

The costs go towards paying for shows and services on the BBC, including its world service, radio broadcasts, television series, online news from the website, and numerous apps.

The licence fee will also be capped at £159 for the next two years, to tackle a squeeze on living costs due to inflation and energy prices.

Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, announced that this licence fee announcement “will be the last” and discussions will now take place on how the BBC will be funded going forward.

Dorries posted on social media to say that: “The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.”

The annual fee is agreed by government and has gradually risen in line with inflation each year since April 2017, but is set to be frozen at £159 for the next two years.

A BBC source said that there had been similar speculation of pay freezes and licence fee scraps before.

The Lincolnite asked Greater Lincolnshire’s MPs about the announcement and what they think the future holds for the BBC, as the looming threat of being drowned out by streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime continues to be a real possibility.

Karl McCartney, Member of Parliament for Lincoln, said: “I welcome the recent announcement by the Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries in respect to the BBC licence fee.

“The licence fee is essentially another tax, a TV licence is required to watch any channel received live, whether it is provided by the BBC or not.

“Increasingly, live TV is becoming less relevant in people’s lives, especially the younger generation.

“With the success of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, etc, it is time that the BBC is brought into the 21st century by ending the outdated tax and fully reviewing how the service is provided.

“The BBC is a valuable national institution – even if I disagree with much of its content – and it is right that the government make it fit for the 21st century.”

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman echoed Mr McCartney’s thoughts, saying: “The BBC is a huge asset to the UK, supporting our fantastic arts industries and acting as a global ambassador for Britain.

“The licence fee, however, is not the only way it can be funded, and I look forward to considering how, in an age of Netflix, the BBC can be better and stronger in the future.

“In the meantime, freezing it is another step the government can take to help tackle the increasing cost of living.”