Scrap BBC licence fee, says report

By Rebecca Burns

The BBC’s licence fee should be scrapped and replaced by a voluntary subscription service, according to a report released by a leading think tank.

David Graham, a former producer at the BBC and author of the report for the Adam Smith Institute, says the current broadcast model is “exhausted” and the BBC must lead the way with reform.

The report, titled Global Player or Subsidy Junkie? Decision Time for the BBC, envisages the organisation with “the global presence of Hollywood studio, but with a wider range of output than a Hollywood studio and an especially strong presence in news and documentary output” in five years time.

Graham claims the current licence fee criminalises the poorer in society.

But the report also concludes the licence fee has been rendered “obsolete” by internet viewing.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has welcomed “tough discussions” about the possibility of cutting the licence fee from its current annual cost of £145.50, accusing the BBC of “extraordinary and outrageous waste”.

In response to the report a spokeswoman for the BBC Trust, responsible for the licence fee, told the BBC: “The Trust welcomes the fact that the current government has expressed its support for the continued existence of multi-year licence fee settlements.”

She added: “The trust remains focused on ensuring that licence fee payers are getting value for money.”