In a move that could have serious implications for the music industry, culture secretary Nadine Dorries said the licence is to be frozen for the next two years before being replaced by a new funding model in 2027, when the Royal Charter is due to be renewed.
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.”
The Daily Mail reported that the culture secretary will freeze the license fee at £159 until April 2024, which will equate to a £2billion funding cut for the BBC. It is understood she would then limit future rises in the licence fee to below inflation up until 2027. The fee currently generates around £3.75 billion a year for the corporation.
The announcement has sparked concern across the music industry, not only in terms of what the ending of the licence fee would mean for BBC platforms that are great supporters of new and grassroots talent, such as Radio 6 Music and BBC Introducing, but also the broadcasting of festivals such as Glastonbury.
The Telegraph quoted a BBC source who said, “The BBC had been cut by 30% over the last 10 years. You can’t keep cutting the BBC and expect it to deliver the same level of service.
“Even a year’s rise with just inflation would mean households being asked to pay less than a penny a day more than they do at the moment – this is a small increase compared to the rest of the media sector where prices have risen by 10% or more.”