BBC licence fee freeze will ‘affect’ output says Tim Davie
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The Culture Secretary said the next announcement about the BBC licence fee “will be the last” as the Government plans to abolish the licence fee by 2027. There are fears for the future of the broadcaster as the decision will inevitably mean big cuts.
And in his latest column in the Telegraph, Charles Moore claimed the BBC has made it easy for Ms Dorries to announce the freeze.
Titled, “The BBC has been acting like the Fox News of the Left”, Mr Moore wrote: “One may feel slightly cynical about Nadine Dorries’s timing of her announcement about the future of the BBC licence fee.
“The freeze for two years was already known. Her talk of a new funding model by 2028 is vaguer than her rhetoric implies.
“She is choosing this moment because of the BBC’s coverage of the revelations about Downing Street parties during Covid. This is more politics than policy.
“The problem is that the BBC has made it easy for her.
“I actually do believe that Tim Davie, the director-general, is serious about impartiality, but the corporation’s implementation of his Action Plan is slow in that special way that only great bureaucracies can manage.
“The story about Boris and parties is a classic case where the national broadcaster needs to show super-impartiality, but the coverage has showed no recognition whatever of what Mr Davie seeks.”
He went on to accuse the BBC of under-serving its audience with some of the biggest stories including the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine.
Mr Moore claimed the BBC “virtually forgot” about this story as well as “downplaying” the news a Chinese agent donated nearly half a million pounds to Labour MP Barry Gardiner.
In her announcement, Ms Dorries said: “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.”
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The decision has proved divisive, with some defending the BBC for having an important role in British society.
However, others have criticised the BBC for wastefulness and accused it of having an establishment bias.
Ms Dorries also cast major doubts over the future of the BBC while talking at a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting in October.
The Culture Secretary actually suggested the BBC may not even exist in 10 years.
Asked whether the licence fee would still be compulsory in 10 or 20 years, she said: “Will the BBC still be here in 10 years? I don’t know … It is a very competitive environment at the moment.”
She highlighted a whole series of issues she had with the broadcaster – including a lack of working-class diversity and perceived political bias.
She added: “We’re having a discussion about how the BBC can become more representative of the people who pay the licence fee … not just people whose mum and dad worked there.
“It’s about recognising that access and lack of impartiality are part of your problem.”
She claimed that “group-think” at the corporation had excluded people from working-class backgrounds.
Ms Dorries continued: “Northwest, Northeast, Yorkshire – if you have got a regional accent in the BBC it doesn’t go down particularly well.
“They talk about lots to do with diversity but they don’t talk about kids from working-class backgrounds and that’s got to change.”
Express.co.uk has approached BBC for a comment.
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