Culture minister suggests TV license loses public support

The BBC royalty is losing public support, a culture secretary has claimed amid calls to drop the “poll tax on propaganda”.

Conservative frontbencher Julia Lopez also pointed out that the company’s impartiality in relation to the future of the royalty is important.

Her comments came as DUP MP Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) criticized the BBC’s handling of Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker for his comments on Twitter about the government’s immigration policy.

Mr Wilson told the House of Commons: “The only disaster this weekend for the BBC was the despicable way it handled the Gary Lineker affair and then gave in to this man and his friends who rallied around him. “

He added: “The BBC has shown once again that its inherent bias makes it impossible to be impartial and it is now time that people are no longer forced to fund the BBC through license fees, especially when there are 1,000 people in attendance every week, the BBC – 70% of them women – are taking them to court for refusing to pay this poll tax on propaganda.”

Ms. Lopez said: “(Mr. Wilson) rightly emphasizes the importance of impartiality to royaltypayer confidence in the organization and its importance in relation to the future of royalty.

“We’re considering it, not least because fewer people are paying the license fee.

“We fear that the public will lose support for license fees, but the way people consume television is also changing very quickly and we need to ensure the BBC has a sustainable future in the years to come.”

It costs £159 per year for a color TV license and £53.50 for a black and white TV license.

Former Tory culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced last year that the royalty would be frozen at £159 for the next two years until April 2024 and said she wanted to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027 as he “completely outdated”.

Conservative MP Scott Benton (Blackpool South) said: “The self-inflicted chaos of recent days in their apparent unwillingness to enforce their own impartiality rules has frankly made a laughing stock of the BBC.

“It is clear that it is now grossly overpaid sports presenters rather than executives who really call the shots.

“Many of my constituents have long viewed the BBC license fee as a regressive, decades-old, outdated tax. Isn’t it about time we had a mature conversation about his future?”

Ms. Lopez said questions about the royalty are questions “that we will consider ahead of the next charter in 2027.”

She said: “As I mentioned before, this is not just a question of whether the royalty is still supported, (it) is a question of whether it is sustainable, as the way we view media is fundamentally changing and we need to ensure that the BBC can keep up and maintain the consent of those who watch its services.

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