Feeds

UK.gov may cut BBC licence fee in 2012

Culture minister says 'tough discussions' to follow

Top three mobile application threats

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt reiterated over the weekend that the BBC’s licence fee could be cut in recognition of the “very constrained financial situation” the country currently faces.

The Tory MP, in an interview with Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, accused the Beeb of being guilty of “extraordinary and outrageous” waste in the past few years.

He warned that the government’s silence on the licence fee issue did not mean the ConDem coalition was satisfied with the BBC management team.

“We will be having very tough discussions,” said Hunt.

In fact the minster gave the clearest signal yet that viewers could soon be paying less for their licence fee once his department renegotiates the £145.50 a year levy with the Mark Thompson-led Corporation next year.

When asked whether he could see the licence fee being reduced when it’s up for renewal in 2012, Hunt answered: “Yes I could. Absolutely. I think that’s the discussion that we need to have.”

In recent months the BBC has been making noises about reeling back spending at the corporation by announcing plans to redirect £600m into "high quality" programmes.

As a result, the Beeb's website operation will effectively be halved over the next few years, with its online budget being slashed by a quarter.

Many have interpreted director-general Thompson's proposals as his effort to allay the government's licence fee concerns.

In March the Tories made a pre-election pledge in which the party said it would "consider using the proportion of the licence fee dedicated to digital switchover to finance superfast broadband roll out under the new BBC licence fee settlement, starting in 2012", if it failed to convince the private sector to get on board with its plans.

If that happens, alongside cuts to the annual licence fee, then it's possible the BBC's spending could be even more squeezed.

Inevitably, protests against the possible licence fee cuts have already surfaced online. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.