BBC Licence Fee: Will it be scrapped for Sheffield TV licence payers and will it be replaced by a new model?

The BBC TV Licence Fee was initially introduced in 1946, at a time when the BBC was the only TV broadcaster in the UK.

By Simi Mundey
Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:14 pm

At this time, the compulsory licence fee was considered the logical way for people to access BBC services.

What does the BBC TV licence pay for?

The money raised from the licence fee pays for BBC shows and services, including tv, apps, radio, and online services such as iPlayer.

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Here's how the TV licence fee could change - as the cost of living crisis continues. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Today, the broadcasting landscape has changed completely, with the addition of extensive satellite channels, and extremely popular streaming services. Due to this, more questions are being raised about the fee and if it is even necessary anymore?

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Has the BBC licence fee been axed?

Government ministers are preparing to scrap the BBC television licence fee, as so many people now believe that it's simply not worth paying for. Especially with the ongoing cost of living crisis, households will be saving a total of £159 a year.

In January, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries confirmed the five-year licence fee settlement would freeze the charges, at its current rate of £159, for the first two years.

Dorries has now unveiled broadcasting white papers that contain goals of broadcasting reform, and promise to usher in a new golden age – for British tv and radio.

The white papers created by the government stated that there hasn’t been a review for less than a decade, and viewing habits have definitely changed a lot in this time.

The papers also included details of the government's plans to privatise Channel 4, after 40 years of public ownership.

The review reaffirms past discussions and confirms their intentions to dump the current funding method, in favour of an alternative option – such as a Netflix-style subscription model.

When would the BBC licence fee be scrapped?

The licence fee’s existence is guaranteed until the end of 2027, as this is when the BBC’s Royal Charter is due for renewal. This is when the fee will be axed, and the changes will start to take place.

The BBC’s Royal Charter sets out the arrangement for governance of the British Broadcasting Corporation – the current charter started in January 2017.

Dorries believes that drastic reform is required to enable public service broadcasters to compete in the internet age.

This is clearly evident now that more and more people are watching shows on devices other than TVs as there is also more competition for viewers and advertising money.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General has publicly stated that when regarding the funding cuts, he would rather make slightly less content, as he isn’t willing to compromise on the quality of BBC content.