Culture secretary Nadine Dorres has confirmed a two-year freeze in the BBC Licence Fee, but pulled back slightly on earlier comments, that the settlement would be the last under the current arrangements.
However, while asking “really serious questions about the long-term funding model of the BBC”, Ms Dorres said it needed to be asked as to whether the Licence fee was still appropriate.
Rather than rise to the £180 requested by the BBC, the Licence Fee will remain fixed at £159 until 1 April 2024. By contrast, Netflix has begun to increase its prices by an equivalent £18 a year, though entirely voluntary and without the criminal penalties Ms Dorres is so fond of reminding us of.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, director-general Tim Davie said the effective cut in the corporation’s income would impact on frontline programmes.
He estimated the freeze would leave the BBC with a £285 million funding gap. “We’re going to take stock, we’ve got the settlement, that gives us certainty now,” he said. “Inevitably, if you don’t get 285 million you will get less services and less jobs.”
Ms Dorres was criticised by The Speaker that details of her plans had appeared in the Sunday papers and on social media, before coming to the House of Commons.