Tory Win Sees BBC Licence Fee Under Threat

By Gary Cutlack on at

The age-old tradition of being required to pay a TV watching tax in the UK could be coming to an end, it's thought, thanks to the newly empowered solo conservative government putting a known BBC-hating man in the job of Culture Secretary.

John Whittingdale is the man now in charge of overseeing the UK's cultural output, and he's previously gone on record with some fairly aggressive opinions about the BBC. Whittingdale said the licence fee is "worse than the poll tax" when he was speaking in his previous job as the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, also saying, back in 2014, that he thinks the compulsory payment model is "unsustainable" in today's multi-channel world.

Whittingdale outlined his thinking on what may happen to the licence fee in the future, saying: "You then have the question of whether or not it should remain a flat poll tax, collected through some fairly draconian measures, and whether it should still be criminally enforceable. Government has already announced consultation on decriminalisation. I've been looking at other countries and I think there's quite an attractive option of linking it to a specific household tax -- maybe council tax."

And he's now the man who will be overseeing the royal charter review next year, when the BBC's right to charge the licence fee will be renewed, or perhaps won't be, and we'll face the nightmare prospect of adverts for car insurance companies in the middle of Antiques Roadshow. Or maybe the £145.50 added to our council tax bills. [Telegraph]

Image credit: BBC from Shutterstock