BBC POLL: Should the BBC be turned into a subscription service? VOTE HERE
BBC slammed by Kevin O’Sullivan for use of licence fee money
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Those who watch live BBC TV and iPlayer must pay the annual fee of £159 or risk being fined up to £1,000 in addition to court costs. The licence fee is the annual cost viewers must pay in the UK and funds the TV, radio and online services of the BBC only.
Over recent months, the BBC has faced ongoing criticism after scrapping free TV licences for most over-75s.
The corporation has also faced accusations of depicting people from working-class backgrounds negatively and subject to ridicule.
Now as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister to use his “political power” to scrap the licence fee, Express.co.uk is asking: “Should the BBC be turned into a subscription service?”
This comes after leading Brexiteer urged the Prime Minister to turn it into a subscription service and “let the people decide”.
Former Brexit MEP Rupert Lowe wrote on Twitter: “Johnson holds the most political power of any PM for decades.
“Use it and Defund the BBC.
“Make it a subscription service and let the people decide!”
Critics have previously suggested a subscription service could be more appropriate, in order to match streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
Last year, Director General Tim Davie also said he was opposed to a subscription-based service.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I do not want a subscription BBC that serves the few.
“We could make a decent business out of it, and I suspect it could do quite well in certain postcodes, but it would make us just another media company serving a specific group.”
Back in January, Mr Lowe demanded the new BBC chairman, Richard Sharp, should make the corporation a subscription-based service.
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Mr Sharp – who took over from Sir David Clementi back in February – previously insisted the annual licence fee is “terrific value” for money.
Mr Lowe lashed out at Mr Sharp’s comments claiming the BBC should be a subscription service if it “provides such popular content”.
He tweeted: “If the new BBC chairman thinks the organisation provides such popular content, then why not make it a subscription service?
“If it’s so great, surely getting millions of subscribers would be no trouble at all?
“Seems fair to me.”
During the 2019 general election, senior Tory MPs attacked the BBC accusing the corporation of bias.
Mr Johnson shelved plans to decriminalise non-payments of the mandatory TV licence.
In 2020, the Government said it “remains concerned that a criminal sanction for TV licence evasion is increasingly disproportionate and unfair in a modern public service broadcasting system”.
The Government added how there could be damaging consequences for the public if the current system is abandoned.
Ministers also said how the Government remained determined any change to the TV licence enforcement scheme “should not be seen as an invitation to evade the TV licence requirement, nor should it privilege the rule-breaking minority over the rule-abiding majority”.
It added: “The issue of decriminalisation will remain under active consideration while more work is undertaken to understand the impact of alternative enforcement schemes.”
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