Jacob Rees-Mogg brands ‘suffocating’ TV licence fee as ‘comfort blanket for the BBC’

Licence fee is 'suffocating' the BBC says Jacob Rees-Mogg

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Mr Rees-Mogg has slapped down the BBC Director-General of the TV licence fee with the Tory MP branding the charge as a “declining asset.” He compared the public broadcaster’s static revenue to the income made by streaming giant Netflix and other private media outlets. The BBC is being forced to defend the current funding model against argument the TV licence fee is outdated and no longer fit for purpose. 

Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC: “I’ve thought for some time that the licence fee is a comfort blanket for the BBC that is ultimately suffocating it.

“If you look at how well Global is doing, look at Global’s revenues over the last few years and how they’ve gone up, look at Sky’s revenues, look at Netflix’s revenues, and what’s happened to the BBC’s revenues?

“They’ve been broadly static and the licence fee takes been slightly falling as people, fewer people take out licences.

“The licence fee is currently a large amount of money, but it is a declining and wasting asset.

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“The BBC should be thinking for itself, about how it’s more innovative and more entrepreneurial,” he added.

“If it depends on the licence fee forever the future of the BBC is pretty bleak in my view, but it should come up with its own plans.”

It comes after BBC director-general Tim Davie said the “stakes are very high” as the Government considers the future of the broadcaster’s funding model.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced earlier this year that the corporation’s licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.

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The minister said she wants to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027 as it is “completely outdated”.

Speaking at the Deloitte Media and Telecoms conference, Mr Davie warned that the Government needs to consider what kind of broadcast environment it wants in the UK when deliberating on the future of the BBC.

He said: “Listen to the public. What are we? Storytellers, a democracy. My biggest thing is the stakes are very high.

“We are not trying to be Netflix, we are trying to be the BBC.

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“I believe we will still offer great value for the licence fee.

“We have some choices to make. I think we will still be able to offer a great service.”

On the subject of “levelling up”, the BBC boss said the broadcaster’s biggest challenge is staying “relevant”.

“It’s in our best interest. We want to be relevant, our biggest challenge is staying relevant,” he said.

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