BBC Suggests Utility Bill Levy as Possible Licence Fee Replacement

By Gary Cutlack on at

The BBC is throwing ideas out there that address how it might survive should the licence fee get axed in the future, and one idea emerging as a front runner is the addition of a levy to an existing utility bill. Because some other countries fund their state broadcasters this way and it makes payment almost entirely inescapable.

Obviously the BBC says it remains in favour of keeping the existing licence fee structure even with the possible new decriminalisation amendment to the rules, but, should noise in favour of binning the licence fee altogether become unavoidably loud, the utility option is its preferred fallback.

The broadcaster's response to the government's decriminalisation plan said of the possible utility bill choice: "This would be a significant change for the UK and we are not, at this stage, advocating it. It does however raise an interesting question as to whether the current system could be made much simpler, more efficient and more automated. We are open to exploring this further."

The BBC says evasion would rocket under decriminalisation and might end up losing it £300m a year, so all alternative plans are presumably welcome. [Guardian]