BBC licence fee should be scrapped for subscription model to ‘pull it into 21st century’ – News 247


 The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) insists the controversial £154.50 annual payment should be scrapped
In the new report, the think tank proposes an opt-in model based on organisations like The Co-Operative and the National Trust
 Under the new system the BBC would be funded and owned by subscribers. The report comes as many people are turning to other services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as watching television on phones and tablets
 IEA senior academic fellow Professor Philip Booth, who wrote the report, said: “The BBC funding model needs to be pulled into the 21st century
 “The UK has a long history of successful mutuals and co-operatives that are popular with their members
 “Such an ownership model for the BBC would be fit-for-purpose in the modern broadcasting world, detach the BBC from the state, and promote real diversity of corporate structures in the world of media
 “A re-modeled BBC could better leverage its brand internationally and be a commercial success as well as perform other less-overtly commercial functions that its member-viewers value
” It comes after the BBC sparked a furious backlash earlier this year when it announced it would be axing free TV licences for over-75s in June 2020
  The Government passed the cost of providing free TV licences for pensioners to the BBC in 2015
 But the corporation has claimed that would have cost £745million by 2021/22 and risked the closure of a number of their channels and radio stations
 Tory MP Julian Knight, who is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, told The Telegraph: “The debacle over the BBC reneging on its agreement to cover the cost of the over 75 license fees has rightly brought the whole idea of the license fee into question
  “At the last charter renewal, the Government failed to get the BBC to reform, as a result radical options like the one set out by this think tank must now come into play
 “Personally, I think the next license fee will be the last.” From June 2020, up to 3
7 million pensioners will lose their free TV licences. Only low-income households where one person receives the pension credit benefit will still be eligible for a free licence
 Speaking last week, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said the BBC should do more for those affected by the move to scrap free TV licences for the elderly
  The Tory MP said she was “very disappointed” with the corporation’s decision to swipe the benefit from millions of pensioners across the UK
 Mrs Morgan said: “The Government is very disappointed with the BBC’s decision on the future of the TV licence concession
Trending  “We know that older people in particular value television as a source of companionship, entertainment and a way to stay connected with the world
 “I’ve met with the chairman of the BBC board and the director general of the BBC and I’ve asked them to do more for those affected by the decision
” In August, Age UK handed in a petition to Downing Street with 634,334 signatures to save free TV licences for older people
 A BBC spokesperson said: “Used by over 90 per cent of the public every week , most people, including most politicians agree that the BBC is now more important than ever as a bulwark against fake news and misinformation, and as the biggest investor in original British programmes that the public love
 “The licence fee is by far the most popular way of funding the BBC among the public

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