There’s a reason no external ads run on the BBC, as the national broadcaster is paid for by the public.
Every year, any Brit who watches live television (any channel, not just the BBC) or watches any streaming service (on any device, not just a TV) is required by law to pay for a TV licence.
Controversial to some, but a beneficial and understandable expense to others – it’s long been suspected that the Conservative government would scrap the licence fee at some stage.
But how much does it cost us each year now, and will it ever be scrapped?
Here’s what you need to know.
How much is the TV licence fee?
The TV licence is currently £159 per year for most of us.
But if someone has a black and white TV, rather than colour, it drops down to £53.50.
There are also certain groups who don’t pay for their TV licence or receive a reduction, including pensioners.
The TV Licence site states: ‘If you are aged 74 or over, you could be entitled to a free licence.
‘Anyone aged 75 or over receiving Pension Credit is eligible to apply for a free TV Licence, paid for by the BBC.
‘Pension Credit can be in the name of the licence holder, or in their partner’s name if they are a couple.’
Care home residents and those who are legally blind, or visually impaired, are also entitled to a discount.
As for future costs, The Mail on Sunday has reported that the £159 per year rate will be ‘frozen’ until April 2024.
Usually, it rises each year. The paper writes that this would result in a loss of £2 billion in funding for the BBC.
Currently, 86% of the TV licence fee goes towards keeping BBC TV channels, BBC iPlayer, radio stations, news programming, website (including online news) and educational services.
The rest helps fund local channels, such as the Welsh TV channel S4C, as well as Freeview and Freesat.
Is the TV licence being scrapped soon?
While a reported price freeze is expected, does this mean the fee that pays for the BBC will soon be scrapped altogether?
Well, it seems so. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries suggested as much on Twitter, writing on Sunday, January 16: ‘This licence fee announcement will be the last.
‘The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.
‘Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.’
She is expected to confirm that the cost of the annual licence will be frozen for three years, before rising slightly for the subsequent three years, through until 2027.
However, this hasn’t happened yet.
What could replace the TV licence fee?
So, the big question remains: if the TV licence fee does go, how will the BBC be funded?
One option is that the government will give the broadcaster a grant – an idea posited by former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale in the i.
This would see people choose to pay a set sum each month, on a rolling contract – giving them access to extra BBC programming, with BBC News and some core programmes remaining free to watch for all.
Of course, the broadcaster could also consider running advertisements – something it currently does for its services outside of the UK. However, it is unlikely this would bring in enough revenue to sustain its current rooster of shows.
Currently, these are just ideas and speculation. We’ll have to wait and see if the fee is removed, and if it is, what alternatives are proposed to replace it.
Credit: Original article published here.