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BBC Licence Fee response

The culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, has said that she does not expect to increase the Licence Fee in line with inflation. 

It seems she is not willing to honour the deal made by her predecessor in 2022, that following a two year freeze the Licence Fee would increase in line with inflation from 2024 onwards. The BBC has upheld its end of the bargain, further slashing budgets even after a decade of cuts. The Government must keep its word too.

The Licence Fee was frozen at £145.50 in 2010, and 13 years later has risen to just £159. Had it kept pace with inflation it would be £230 today. Commercial rivals have increased their prices by 200% over the same period. The savings required to endure 13 years of cuts have already left the BBC diminished, with even core services threadbare. 

The effects of a further cut to the Licence Fee (as anything under inflation would be) will be catastrophic. The financial relief to the voters it is aimed at is so small they will hardly notice it and yet the impact to the BBC, which has already built the increase into its plans, is huge.

It is disingenuous for the culture secretary to ask “how do we maintain the amazing service that the BBC provides” without proper funding. Our recent proposal called for a new, independent mechanism for fairly funding the BBC, to give the organisation the long term certainty it needs and the resources necessary to deliver its mission.

You can read below a letter that our Chair, Pat Younge, has written to the Daily Telegraph. 

Now is not the time for the Government to behave disreputably and break the firm promise it made to Parliament. It must keep its word and honour its commitment to increase the Licence Fee by the rate of inflation from 2024. Failure to do so will further undermine the ability of the BBC to fulfil its
purpose and weaken its independence. This will be the first major test for the new Chair of
the BBC, whose appointment is imminent. We hope they will be up to the job.

The British Broadcasting Challenge

We will be campaigning for fair funding for the BBC in the coming weeks and months. Please email us if you would like to join our call for the Government to honour its deal.

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