The Daily Telegraph

Culture Secretary sees BBC licence fee as unfair

- By Anita Singh Arts And entertainm­ent editor

THE new Culture Secretary is to take on the BBC after making it clear that she wants to see the licence fee scrapped.

Michelle Donelan has also accused the corporatio­n of failing older viewers with its decision to demand the licence fee from those over 75, and criticised huge salaries paid to its presenters and executives.

In a column for her local newspaper in 2019, Ms Donelan wrote: “I was outraged by the BBC’S decision to revoke free TV licences for the over-75s.

“Personally, I think the licence fee is an unfair tax and should be scrapped altogether but that is a different debate.

“The BBC have acted appallingl­y and I am determined to do everything in my power to change their mind.”

Ms Donelan launched a petition to reverse the over-75s decision, which she shared via Facebook and her local newspaper, the Melksham Independen­t News. The MP for Chippenham is the 11th Tory culture secretary in the past 12 years and succeeds Nadine Dorries.

In her column, Ms Donelan continued: “I am so very disappoint­ed that the BBC has now abdicated its responsibi­lity to over-75s, especially as BBC salaries have skyrockete­d since 2015 with a huge number of BBC employees earning six- or seven-figure salaries funded by the licence fee.

“The BBC are shirking their obligation to its older viewers, many of whom have been their most loyal viewers and have paid the full price for TV licences for years,” adding it was possible for it to retain the concession without negatively affecting the quality of content”.

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