BBC: licence fee could rise in line with inflation

A BBC report into the future of BBC funding recommends increasing the licence fee in line with inflation and raising the amount of money it makes through commercial ventures.

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BBC: licence fee could rise in line with inflation

A report into the future of BBC funding recommends increasing the licence fee in line with inflation and raising the amount of money it makes through commercial ventures, the corporation said today

The broadcaster made the disclosure after a newspaper report alleged that a review into the organisation's funding suggested replacing the licence fee with a subscription service from 2020.

The Sunday Times said that the majority of a 12-strong centenary review set up by James Purnell, the former Labour minister turned BBC director of strategy and digital, supported the change. It also reported that the review recommended freezing the licence fee until 2020.

TV licensing plans 'should not lessen' signal to pay fee

The Deputy Prime Minister has said he would be concerned about any move which would "lessen the signal" that people should pay the TV licensing fee, after plans revealed that the Government was considering easing pressure on courts.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

He said: "We will look at it but I think you need to be aware that if you have a 1% drop in the payment of the licence fee, that would lose you money which at the moment would cover the money for 10 local radio stations.

"So it's important that people do pay their licence fee and I don't want to see any relaxation of that because I'm a great fan of the BBC. I think a lot of people rely on the BBC locally and nationally for their news and for a lot else besides.

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BBC: Licence fee change could lead to more cuts

The BBC warns that the move could lead to more cuts to programming Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The BBC has responded to calls for licence fee avoidance to be decriminalised, warning that removing the threat of prosecution could eventually lead to further cuts to programming.

A BBC spokesman said legislation was "a matter for the Government", but added that any change in the law could lead to more people evading the yearly charge, currently set at £145.50.

"Just a one per cent increase in evasion would lead to the loss of around £35 million, the equivalent of around 10 BBC Local Radio stations," the spokesman added.

TV licence avoidance may no longer be a crime

Licence fee avoidance could no longer be a criminal offence, under plans being looked at by ministers Credit: PA Wire

It may no longer be a crime to avoid the TV licence fee, under plans being considered by ministers to ease pressure on courts.

The change in law would mean that non-payment of the £145.50-a-year charge would be dealt with in the civil courts, rather than being viewed as a criminal offence.

Currently, anyone failing to pay the licence fee faces a £1,000 fine and a criminal record, as well as the prospect of jail if fines are not paid.

More than 100 MPs are supporting the change, including both Culture Secretary Maria Miller and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, according to the Telegraph.

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