The BBC has hit back at a national newspaper poll that found 60 per cent of British adults think the licence fee should be scrapped.
The poll of 2,005 British adults, carried out last week by Savanta Comres for the Sunday Express, also found that less than a third (29 per cent) of people believe the licence fee is good value for money.
- April 22, 2021
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A BBC spokesperson said “certain media outlets and politicians have been running a campaign against the BBC and the licence fee for some time” and that people give different answers to surveys dependent on context.
The survey revealed a divide in views on the BBC’s future funding model.
Some 34 per cent supported the idea of a subscription service, while 36 per cent were against it and a further 11 per cent said they did not know.
The poll also revealed that 63 per cent of people feel the BBC is an “important part of British culture”, but just 28 per cent think it should be treated differently from other channels like ITV.
The BBC said respondents should have been given more detail on what services the BBC would have to close if the licence fee is scrapped.
“This poll appears to have asked people whether they’d like the licence fee scrapped or reformed without explaining that would mean losing programmes and services they love,” said a spokesperson.
“The reality is that the BBC represents very good value for money.”
Some 22 per cent of those surveyed for the Express said BBC News was too left-leaning while 17 per cent said it was too right-leaning politically.
Nicky Morgan, who was replaced as Culture Secretary by Oliver Dowden two weeks ago, wrote in the Telegraph at the weekend that the BBC’s next director-general and chairman must accept “no change” is not an option.
Morgan launched a public consultation earlier this month on whether it should continue to be a crime to evade paying the TV licence fee, which can result in a fine of up to £1,000, saying the BBC needs to “remain relevant” as TV audiences shift online.
She revealed in the Telegraph that the consultation had received several thousand responses, both positive and negative, within its first 24 hours.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi has warned that much less money would go to the BBC’s regional TV and radio services, children’s programming would have to be cut, and that events like Royal weddings and the Olympic Games would no longer be accessible to all for free.
BBC journalist and former Question Time host David Dimbleby told German state TV channel ARD that the BBC is “under threat in a way it has never been before”.
He said the Government was taking a “pernicious route” to say the licence fee is “wrong or unfair”, adding: “I don’t believe it is wrong or unfair.
“It is a way of damaging and undermining the BBC that is dangerous and should be resisted forcefully if public broadcasting is to survive. Anything that chips away at what we believe to be a good democratic process is dangerous and has to be fought against.
“It has to be explained why not speaking to people is dangerous, why not appearing on television is dangerous.”