Axing fee ‘will tear BBC apart’
THE BBC’s chairman is to warn that if the licence fee is axed, the corporation will be forced to slash TV and radio services.
Sir David Clementi will say tonight that the broadcaster would be a hugely different organisation if the funding model is changed to a subscription model.
He will claim that local TV and radio services would face cuts and the number of children’s programmes would drop.
Last week the Government suggested that the licence fee funding model could be scrapped when the current Charter ends in 2027.
But the BBC boss, in a fight back against the critics, will describe the corporation as a ‘national asset’ and warn that ‘a diminished BBC is a weakened United Kingdom’.
When Sir David delivers the talk in Salford, he will acknowledge that although the BBC could thrive if funded by a voluntary subscription model, it ‘would not be the BBC that the nation knows and values’.
And ‘sitting behind a pay wall’ where it would not be available to everyone means the BBC would no longer be ‘the place that brings the country together’ for iconic live events such as royal weddings, shows such as Strictly Come Dancing or Olympic successes.
In his speech, the BBC chairman will warn: ‘A subscription service would be unlikely to have much regional presence. It would not fund anything like the amount of money that the BBC at present puts into the nations and regions, in television and in local radio.
‘It would be unlikely to continue the level of properly curated programmes for children, or the Bitesize education services that have helped so many teenagers.’
Warning: Sir David