The BBC is to undergo a 'major overhaul' - here's what will change

A "major overhaul" of the BBC has been announced by the government.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale unveiled the highly anticipated White Paper on the future of the corporation in Parliament on Thursday, telling MPs: "The BBC is and must always remain at the very heart of British life.

"We want the BBC to thrive, to make fantastic programmes for audiences and to act as an engine for growth and creativity."

These are the government's plans for the corporation:


Government's position: "Assist the BBC to fulfil its own stated desire to become more distinctive and to better reflect the diverse nature of its audience."

  • A new requirement to provide "distinctive content" rather than focusing on chasing ratings will be introduced

  • The BBC will be required "to better reflect the diverse nature of its audience"

  • Fewer in-house shows - the BBC must remove the in-house guarantee for all television content spend - except for news and news-related current affairs - to open programme-making to greater competition


Government's position: "The current licence fee system needs to be fairer ... and is likely to become less sustainable in the future."

  • Viewers who watch BBC shows online will have to buy a TV licence

  • The licence fee will stay in place until 2021/22

  • A freeze on the £145.50 a year fee will end next year, when it will increase in line with inflation

Viewers will now have to have a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer Credit: PA


Government's position: "The current system of regulating the BBC is "confusing and ineffective" and "reform is vital."

  • There will be a new unitary board with a majority of members independent of the government - the first time in its 90-year history that the BBC will be regulated by an external organisation

  • Media watchdog Ofcom will regulate the broadcaster and will be "a strong regulator to match a strong BBC"

  • "The BBC will operate in a more robust and more clearly defined governance and regulatory framework and it will be more transparent and accountable to the public it serves," Mr Whittingdale said

Staff salaries

Government's position: "The public has a right to know what the highest earners the BBC employs are paid out of their licence fee."

  • The BBC will be forced to publish the salaries of employees earning more than £450,000

  • The National Audit Office will also become the financial auditor of the BBC and have the power to conduct value for money investigations into its activities