BBC licence fee increase is slammed by hosts
Sir David Clementi used the results of a study conducted by the broadcasting corporation as the basis for his rant, which asked 70 households to stop viewing or listening to BBC services for nine days to see whether they would prefer to continue paying the £157.50 annual fee or not. After the results showed two-thirds were in favour of continuing to pay, he launched into a furious outburst in a final parting shot after stepping down as BBC chairman last month. Speaking at an event for the Royal Society of Medicine, he said: “When we run trials where people have had to live for two or three weeks without any BBC services, at the end of it they cannot cope: ‘We don’t know what the weather’s going to be, we missed the 10 O’Clock News.
“I can’t manage without Match of the Day. How can I possibly cope without watching Strictly on a Saturday evening?’
“Things they took for granted are removed from them, and they realise how valuable the BBC is. So I would encourage those who think that it’s not worth £3 a week to put themselves through the exclusion.
“I think that most people would find it very hard to cope without the BBC.”
The study was based on a proposal by Professor Patrick Barwise of the London Business School.
The former chairman of the BBC has lashed out licence fee critics
Out of the 70 households that took part, 24 originally said they would prefer to pay nothing and not receive the BBC, while 24 said they would only pay less than the licence fee for the current BBC offering.
And 22 household said they would pay the full licence fee or more.
However, the households were asked again nine days later after going without watching the BBC, to see if the results would stay the same.
The results showed 33 households now said they would pay the licence fee.
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The BBC asked 70 households to stop viewing or listening to BBC services for nine days
They reported missing the BBC in their daily routines much more than they had thought they would, according to the Telegraph.
But the study was carried out in 2015, before Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services had become as popular as they now.
The BBC also sparked fury recently after the Government said the annual fee would increase from £157.50 to £159 from April 1, 2021.
The black and white licences will also rise from £53.00 to £53.50.
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Sir David Clementi launched the rant after stepping down as BBC chairman last month
The licence fee is currently guaranteed until 2027, but there is a debate about the BBC’s funding after that.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden recently asked the corporation to set out its financial needs.
The Government expects the television licence fee settlement process to be finished by autumn next year, before then coming into force on April 1, 2022.
Mr Dowden said in December: “Public service broadcasting is woven into the cultural fabric of the UK, but to remain relevant and meet people’s needs in the digital age it must evolve.
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“We are taking a step forward in our roadmap for reform of the BBC and beginning negotiations to agree the cost of a TV licence from 2022 so that it offers fee payers the best value for money.”
The BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie has previously said he doesn’t support a subscription service for the BBC.
He warned that the BBC currently faces a “significant risk” and has “no inalienable right to exist”.
Mr Davie said: “If current trends continue, we will not feel indispensable enough to all our audience. We must evolve to protect what we cherish.”
Tim Davie has previously said he doesn’t support a subscription service for the BBC
A BBC spokeswoman has previously defended the licence fee for helping the corporation “invest in British creativity”.
She told Express.co.uk: “The licence fee continues to ensure the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, committed to serving all audiences and investing in British creativity.
“It is the agreed method of funding until at least 2027 and any further debate on this will be for the next Charter discussions.”