A former BBC chairman today warned the £159 licence fee was ‘too much money’ as he suggested BBC2 and BBC4 could be abolished to cut costs.
Lord Grade was the CEO of Channel 4 as well as chair of ITV. He stated that the amount’may not seem like a lot to Gary Lineker, but it was enough for average Britons’. However, he described the universal, annual levy as a’regressive tax.
This Tory peer’s intervention is coming as Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary to the Tory Party, announced that the Licence Fee would be abolished after 2027 under Operation Red Meat. It’s part of the Prime Minister’s policy blitz, which seeks to divert attention from recent Partygate row.
Lord Grade told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘£159 a year may not be a lot of money for Gary Lineker but it’s a heck of a lot for many people in this country when there is inflation, an energy crisis and so on. This is too much.
“The BBC has asked for more money in every settlement of licence fees throughout its entire history.
“It’s done well in cutting costs over the past few years but it has never given up on its turf. BBC2 and BBC4 are necessary. It’s confusing to me. I don’t understand the BBC. It is like the monarchy.
Lord Grade was CEO of Channel 4 as well as chair of ITV. He stated that the fee was not too high for Gary Lineker, but was affordable for all Britons. Pictured right is Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary
Ms. Dorries posted this morning: “This license fee announcement is the last.”
Lord Grade claimed that Ms. Dorries had set the tone for the debate over what would replace the licensing fee.
He added: “I wouldn’t rule out advertising funding BBC because it would devastate Channel 4 or Channel 5 and other channels. Although subscriptions are possible, how would you go about radio? This is only possible with very special services.
“You could grant aid. Somebody suggested taxing big streaming monoliths.
“Time is running out quickly, and we must have a debate about whether there will be a transition to the license fee.
“What should the BBC do? What budget can we afford to pay?” The options are endless and the Secretary of state was trying to make that clear.
Today Ms. Dorries stated that she would like to create a new funding structure for broadcasters when the current license fee agreement expires in five year’s time.
A two-year suspension of the Corporation’s licence fees has been imposed by the Cabinet Minister. Her allies warned that ‘the days’ of state-run television were over as tensions continue between the BBC and Government.
Ms Dorries tweeted this morning: ‘This licence fee announcement will be the last. These days, the elderly are no longer being threatened by bailiffs or prison sentences.
“Now is the time to debate and fund new methods of supporting, selling and funding great British content.”
Ms Dorries was speaking as it emerged Boris Johnson was planning a policy blitz dubbed Operation Red Meat, targeting disaffected Tory voters – and MPs – with a series of populist moves including a crackdown on cross-Channel migrants aimed at deflecting attention away from Partygate.
Tense negotiations between the Government and the BBC over the cost of the annual fee until the end of 2027 have concluded, with Ms Dorries deciding to hold the licence at £159 for the next two years.
Officials calculate that – due to inflation currently running at 5.1 per cent – the Corporation will have to find savings of more than £2billion over the next six years.
However, Ms Dorries is also considering pegging future fee increases below inflation between 2024 and the end of the current Royal Charter on December 31, 2027 – meaning the savings the BBC must make could end up being even higher.
Tweet by Ms Dorries seemed to confirm the fact that, if they are in power in 2027, the Conservatives will move to replace the license fee A new funding model that reflects growing demand for subscription services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.
This move follows a number of disagreements with ministers regarding the Corporation’s Left-wing bias.
Last week, senior Government officials were furious at the BBC’s coverage of Boris Johnson’s apology to MPs about the Downing Street lockdown party. They complained that it “feels like” the BBC won’t stop until Johnson is gone.
The licence fee currently earns the corporation £3.2billion a year.
BBC executives had previously called for an increase in cost in line with inflation. Ministers heard them say it was unfair to confuse bias perceptions with funding arrangements.
The BBC could not produce hits programmes like Line of Duty, David Attenborough’s nature series or David Attenborough’s Line of Duty if they stop paying the licence fee.
The licence fee currently earns the corporation £3.2 billion a year. Officials calculate that – due to inflation currently running at 5.1 per cent – the Corporation will have to find savings of more than £2 billion over the next six years
Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC (pictured), has attempted to mitigate Government concerns about impartiality. He placed controls on employees who express their opinions on social media. The emphasis was also on news role neutrality.
Ministers felt particularly upset by Nick Robinson’s series of rude comments (above), in which he asked Mr Johnson if his Wednesday apology to Parliament’really was an apologize’.
Richard Sharp, BBC chairman, stated last year that the costs of BBC’s most popular shows have doubled while drama prices alone rose by about 35%.
At a time where household are experiencing a severe cost-of-living squeeze because of tax rises, and energy price increases, it is unjustifiable to have an inflation-linked increase.
The MP for Mid Bedfordshire, an ally to Ms Dorries and best-selling author who appeared on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity , told The Mail that there will be many anxious noises regarding how the programme will impact popular programs, but that they can also learn to reduce waste like other businesses.
‘This will mark the end of all BBC licensing fee negotiations. Next week will see the start of work on a midterm review that would replace the Charter by a new funding model.
“It’s over, BBC. They know it.”
Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC has attempted to diffuse Government concerns about impartiality. He placed restrictions on employees who express their opinions on social media.
The BBC’s constitution is the Royal Charter. This document explains the BBC’s Object, Mission, and Public Purposes.
The BBC is helping to increase pressure on Johnson in the wake of the Partygate revelations. Senior party leaders were angered at the Today program and the TV news at 10pm.
The Today host Nick Robinson made a string of snide comments that angered them, including asking whether Johnson’s Wednesday apology to the Commons’really was an apologetic’.
Interviewee Brandon Lewis was told by Mr Robinson that most people believed the Prime Minister meant to say sorry for being caught. He also said that his focus was always on “blaming others” and not his behavior.
The ally of Ms Dorries added: ‘Nadine wants to continue to produce high quality British television – she doesn’t want it all to come from America – but the days of state-run TV are over.
“It’s not clear yet whether the future will involve share ownership or subscription. However, there won’t be any more renewals of licence fees so long as Boris remains PM.
‘The new generation of 19- to 34-year-olds are watching YouTube, Netflix and videos on demand – they don’t watch the BBC, and shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.
“Hard-working families and pensioners should not be overlooked.”
Ms. Dorries described previously the BBC to be a “Leftwing,” “hypocritical”, or “patronising” organization that had too many “dull and boring, male, and aged wig-wearing guys” who were performing presenting duties.
Sources at BBC said that similar speculation has occurred before.
“There are many good reasons to invest in the BBC’s ability to serve the British public and creative industries around the globe.
After many years of cutbacks, it is clear that anything less than inflation will put unacceptable pressure on BBC finances.
Stark warning by Nadine Dorries’ allies: The working-class Culture secretary goes to war with the BBC for its “Left-wing bias”
For The Mail on Sunday, Glen Owen and Georgia Edkins
One working-class girl who grew up in a council area is at odds with Britain’s elite liberals as she fights for control of BBC.
As Nadine Dorries has told friends: ‘I’m from the roughest streets in Liverpool – they can come after me if they want, but I am resolute. The BBC will not tolerate me leaving this job.
The Culture Secretary’s decision to freeze the BBC’s £159 annual licence fee for two years comes after a series of fraught meetings with Director-General Tim Davie and other executives.
They had argued bitterly that the Government should not link arguments about the Corporation’s pervasive, Left-leaning mindset to its funding levels – but Ms Dorries made clear that the issues were inextricably linked.
The BBC will be arguing that Line of Duty, which is enjoyed by millions of viewers, was a poor move, according to her and her colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Ms Dorries believes that the migration of viewers to subscription services such as Netflix makes the abolition of the licence fee inevitable when the Corporation’s current Royal Charter expires on 31 December 2027 – particularly given other pressures on household finances from inflation, tax rises and energy price hikes.
A close ally stated it bluntly: “The days of state-run television are gone.”
Ms. Dorries (64) is double-equipped for the fight with the BBC.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ decision to freeze the BBC’s £159 annual licence fee for two years comes after a series of fraught meetings with Director-General Tim Davie and other executives
Questions about the impartiality of BBC over coverage of No. 10 Partygate revelations. Pictured by BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place (London).
Not only is she unaware of any connection with the Corporation culturally, but also her recent success as an author who has been acclaimed for his novels have made it easy to see the possible consequences on her political career.
Her appointment to the Cabinet in September was a surprise to many political observers – and a nightmare made real for the BBC.
She attacked the Corporation in her past role as Health Minister.
Elle also criticised the organization for having too many boring, dull, and aged wig-wearing male presenters.
This shocking news sent shockwaves through Corporation. Corporation has been shaken by Martin Bashir Diana documentary scandal in which it was discovered that Princess Diana agreed to her Panorama interview in 1995 with false pretences.
Multiple allegations have been made that it promoted ‘woke bias,’ a culture of defensiveness and impracticable ‘groupthink.
Questions about the impartiality of BBC over coverage of No. 10 Partygate revelations.
According to reports, senior Tories felt particularly angry by Nick Robinson’s series of sexist comments. Robinson asked whether Boris Johnson’s apology for the Commons “really was an apologize”?
Following her confirmation to the Cabinet in September last year, Ms Dorries announced that “you could hear the BBC’s almond milk latte cups hitting on the ground.”
After being elected in the Mid Bedfordshire safe seat in 2005, her public fame was first heightened when she accepted to guest on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… (2012), in which she was required to sleep in an enclosed pit filled with crickets, maggots, and cockroaches.
She was always attuned towards snobbery or misogyny. In fact, she called the former Prime Minister David Cameron (now Chancellor George Osborne) ‘two arrogant and pompous posh boys with no passion for understanding the lives of other people’.
It has caused shockwaves in the Corporation. The Corporation has been downed by Martin Bashir Diana’s documentary scandal. In which the princess admitted to giving her Panorama interview in 1995, (above), under false pretences, the Princess has now become a laughing stock.
Ms. Dorries, on the other hand, said she couldn’t afford shoes when she was growing-up because money was scarce.
When she was 16 years old, she quit school to study to be a nurse. Then, her ex-husband Paul Dorries introduced her to business and they became friends.
She has been a politician, minister and mom to her three children for almost twenty years while simultaneously launching an incredibly successful career as novelist.
The ally of Ms Dorries says: ‘We all know what the BBC is going to say – they will tell us that ‘the baby is going to get it’. That is absurd.
‘We still want to produce high quality British programmes – none of us wants endless American dross on our screens. It will take different approaches to get it.
‘No longer will families have to worry about the bailiffs coming round, or being sent to prison, because they can’t afford a £159 fee at a time when all their other costs are going up.
‘It’s 2022, it’s over. This will be the last licence-fee settlement – ever.’
DAVID ELLOR: Finally someone is brave enough to challenge the BBC top brass to stay within their means
For The Mail on Sunday, David Mellor
Nadine Dorries will not be changing her mind. The Culture Secretary plans to freeze the BBC license fee for two more years, and then impose settlements below inflation for the two remaining years of the BBC charter.
At that point it should be possible to dispense with the licence fee altogether – an outcome I now believe the BBC richly deserves.
This is unbelievable.
From the 1980s through the 1990s, I tried four times to be the minister of broadcasting. One of my strongest convictions was the necessity for the licensing fee to ensure that British citizens had access to quality broadcasting.
I adhered to the principles of my late friend Sir David Frost. He always stated that two sources of funding were the source of British broadcasting’s strength: the BBC licensing fee which provides ample revenue to the BBC, as well as advertising funding, which was back then only ITV.
And I was able to stand up for my convictions. I was even willing to stand up to Mrs Thatcher, who saw the licence fee as an unwarranted imposition on the long-suffering British people – a poll tax, actually, though of course she never so described it – and regarded the publicly funded BBC that emerged as an abomination, an entity that hated her as much as she detested them.
John Birt is the incoming director-general of the BBC. We talked often about ways to make the license fee more manageable.
He was surrounded by people who were telling him to get rid of Radio 1 because the BBC only offers quality programming that you can’t find anywhere else.
This was an opinion I was strongly opposed to. I thought this quasi-poll tax had to provide something for residents of Gateshead Council Houses just like it did to Hampstead Garden Suburb homeowners.
They all were making money. It was up to everyone to gain something.
Nadine Dorries will not relent. The Culture secretary intends to stop paying the BBC licence fee over the next two-years and then will impose lower inflation settlements for the last two years.
I was a firm believer in the principles of my late friend Sir David Frost. He had always said that British broadcasting is strong because of two sources of funding: the BBC licensing fee which provides ample revenues for the BBC and advertising funding, which was back then only ITV. [File picture]
This was the view I defended at the Tory Party Conference to a motion made by the Tory Party delegates. Many of them were so light-hearted that Mrs Thatcher looked like a lightweight in lambasting Beeb.
People who don’t think being booed from a rostrum can be the most horrible thing for a speaker are not peripatetic windbags. But it is not. The same as my total and angry silence is equally as harmful.
However, because I was so right, it was something I could bear to do, just like an early Christian martyr.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t so. I learned over the years that my convictions were unworthy of belief.
As the BBC lurches to ever greater absurdity on the far-out fringes of supposedly advanced thought – all at the expense of the public purse – I regularly ask myself how I could have got it so wrong.
One thing I missed, as Nadine Dorries clearly does, was the fact that broadcasting has changed dramatically. The emergence of satellite television – made possible, if you don’t mind me saying, by the Broadcasting Act 1990 that I took through Parliament – means there is no minority hobby or interest that is not already catered for elsewhere.
I can now watch hours and hours of sad sports coverage from Amazon and Sky, without having to stop for adverts.
I was even willing to stand up to Mrs Thatcher, who saw the licence fee as an unwarranted imposition on the long-suffering British people – a poll tax, actually, though of course she never so described it – and regarded the publicly funded BBC that emerged as an abomination, an entity that hated her as much as she detested them
This should all be apparent to anyone working for the Beeb. Yet, they appear to have no idea that they’re drinking at the last-chance saloon. They are just as enthusiastic about No 10 Downing Street employees.
Tim Davie is the BBC’s Director General for the past two years. He understands this situation well. Everything he has to say, I can agree with.
He hopes that the Corporation will be a symbol of moderation.
He is determined to ensure that the broadcasts it makes are free of bias.
However, he doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish his goals.
You will find the following absurd wokery hilarious.
It is possible that June Sarpong (the broadcaster’s former diversity champion) gets more than the Corporation head.
It is well-documented that comedy classics like Fawlty Towers are being censored. Little Britain has been removed completely from iPlayer because it was deemed offensive.
Yes, I imagine it. Morning Live’s doctor Xand van Tuleken calls expectant mothers ‘pregnant women’ in this strange country.
Nigel Rees, the distinguished presenter of Quote… Unquote explains he left Radio 4 after 40 years amid pressure to invite more diverse guests, even if they were less suitable.
As sober a voice as Michael Buerk complains that Radio 4’s The Moral Maze – a bastion of snoozy ethical debate – is also falling victim. He says that a growing number of subjects are being deemed “off limits”.
Is freedom of speech worth the long-term pursuit of “yoof”?
Well documented is the censure of classic comedy such as Fawlty Towers. Little Britain was deemed so offensive that it has been removed entirely from iPlayer.
From the 1980s through the 1990s, I tried four times to be the minister of broadcasting. One of my strongest convictions was the necessity for the licensing fee to ensure that British citizens had access to quality broadcasting. I was wrong. Over the years I realized that my convictions were unworthy of belief.
More insidious is the influence of informal staff networks within the Corporation – groups which enforce their own partisan agendas by hurling charges of ‘racism’ and ‘transphobia’ at colleagues and programme makers.
Tim Davie, broadcasting’s King Canute, is correct to decry the advancing tide. Yet, the chair below him is still bobbing in the waves.
He’ll be aware that Nadine Dories is setting an example. This is because she wants Auntie to stay within her means.
The BBC is told that she is reducing the amount of staff overmanaging, which is still an ongoing problem.
Remember the old joke – that whenever the Beeb was in crisis, the cry would go up from top floor management: ‘Assistant heads must roll’? That was 30 years ago.
Nadine Dorries believes, like we do, that the BBC’s resistance will succeed. She isn’t any less confident than all of us, but I can see her being just as optimistic.