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Scrapping licence fee for alternative funding could harm society, BBC boss warns 

Scrapping licence fee for alternative funding could harm society, BBC boss warns

  • The BBC’s director general has said scrapping the license fee could harm Britain
  • Tim Davie said ministers needed to consider the kind of broadcasting environment they wanted if the government was to go ahead and scrap the fee
  • His comments come after the Government revealed in the recent white paper that it will review the BBC’s funding in a move that threatens the broadcaster

Scrapping the licence fee could harm British society, suggested the BBC’s director-general yesterday in what will be seen as a warning to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

In response to the Government’s plans to look at alternative funding for the broadcaster, Tim Davie said ministers needed to consider the kind of broadcasting environment they wanted.

Mr Davie said: ‘Let’s listen to the public. Let’s be led by the data and really think carefully about what kind of media market we want in the UK.

‘What are we? As storytellers, as a democracy… my biggest thing is the stakes are very high about what kind of society we live in.’

Tim Davie said ministers needed to consider the kind of broadcasting environment they wanted if the government was to go ahead and scrap the fee in what will be seen as a warning to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries

He added: ‘We are not trying to be Netflix, we are trying to be the BBC.’

Mr Davie also told the Deloitte Media and Telecoms conference that the current two-year licence fee freeze means the broadcaster would ‘shut a few things’ and ‘reduce volume’.

His comments come after the Government revealed in the recent white paper that it will review the BBC’s funding.

Mr Davie admitted that the broadcaster’s biggest challenge was ‘staying relevant’.

During the talk the BBC director-general was asked about the Government’s review into the funding model of the broadcaster, which was unveiled in a recent white paper.

He said the Government needed to consider the kind of broadcasting environment it wanted to see when making decisions about the funding of the corporation.

The BBC boss added: ‘I believe we will still offer great value for the licence fee payer.’

The Government’s white paper suggested it will review the funding model, which is expected to dump the licence fee system.

This came after Nadine Dorries signalled the end of the licence fee when in an interview she said the Government is ‘ready to implement a new way of funding the BBC’.

At the event Mr Davie also discussed the options facing the corporation as it looks to make savings following a two-year freeze on the licence fee.

He said: ‘We’ve got some choices to make. We’ll shut a few things, we’ll reduce volume, we’ll do some things, but I think we’ll still be able to offer great value for the licence fee.’

Earlier this week the boss of the National Audit Office suggested the BBC could make more efficiency savings rather than relying on cuts to shows.

Mr Davie claimed the BBC needed to ‘repurpose our organisation’ to make sure the content fitted the needs of the ‘on-demand’ and gaming environment and the so-called metaverse.

He added: ‘We are going to have to work out how public service broadcasting delivers in all environments and is not just a market failure, skinny sideshow. I think to do that, we’ve got to innovate, innovate and keep innovating.

‘Any complacency is going to end in serious consequences.’

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