‘I don’t want to pay for it!’ Peter Bone dismantles BBC funding model and vows to end it

BBC licence fee payers are 'fed up' of 'TV tax' says Friend

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Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries in January announced a two-year licence fee freeze for the BBC, which amounts to a £2billion funding cut over the next 6 years. The fee will be kept at £159 until 2024. Ms Dorries is also considering keeping further increases of the licence fee below the level of inflation from 2024 onwards.

But Mr Bone urged the government to go further and scrap the fee entirely, something which he says is “long overdue”.

He told Express.co.uk: “I think the day in age of the state broadcaster funded by the taxpayer is long overdue to be scrapped.

“I don’t want to pay a licence fee for something that I don’t agree with and I wouldn’t want to if I had the option to.

“Why in this day in age should we be forced to pay a state broadcasting system?”

However, he praised the government for the recent changes, saying they have “certainly accepted the principle that there shouldn’t be a licence fee”

Mr Bone, who introduced the BBC Licence Fee Abolition Bill in June 2020, criticised the broadcaster for being “institutionally biased”.

Speaking about its coverage of the Brexit referendum, he said it was “clearly biased towards remaining in the EU.”

He added: “If you just look at the guests on Question time, it was always dominated by Remain supporters.

“There was never a fair balance with leave supporters.

“I ran the second biggest leave campaign in the country and none of the team were ever invited onto question time.

“So there’s that bias.

“And I say it’s institutional because I don’t actually think they know they’re even doing it themselves.”

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The government has said that it is likely to replace the licence fee with a new funding model when the Royal Charter comes to an end in 2027 in order to reflect the growing popularity of TV subscription services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

While Mr Bone said he was “pleased the government is picking it up”, he added that he would “like the government to move quicker”.

Speaking about what the BBC would look like if the licence fee were to be scrapped entirely, the MP for Wellingborough said he thinks the broadcaster would become “more efficient” and “more responsive to the people who watch it”.

He said: “Certainly if the BBC has to raise the money in a commercial way then they will be forced to be more efficient, more cost-effective.

“They probably wouldn’t pay such huge amounts of money to certain presenters.

“The problem at the moment is they have a guaranteed income.

“It doesn’t matter how rubbish they are, there is no incentive for them to save money.

“So I think just switching away from the licence fee would improve the running of the BBC.

“I think they’re going to have to be more responsive to the people who watch it.”

An ally of Nadine Dorries said the recently announced changes will mean “it’s over for the BBC as they know it”.

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