Monday, 16 November 2009

Tories may shrink BBC LICENSE FEE ...

The Tories may force the BBC into accepting a reduced licence fee and axing its digital channels, shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Hunt said yesterday his party would reassess the levels of funding the BBC receives if it comes into power - the latest of a string of Tory pledges to overhaul the way the corporation is run.

He told Sky News: “Times are very tough. I think it would be pretty hard to make a case for an increase in the licence fee now.

“We are not ruling out freezing the licence fee or cutting it, but the BBC has to make its case very strongly because times are very difficult for licence-fee payers.”

Hunt added that the corporation would have to do more to justify its digital channels, such as BBC3 and BBC4.

“The BBC needs to make a better case for investment in some of its new digital channels which have very low audiences but do cost a lot of money.
“If we win the election there will be discussions we will be having with the BBC,” he said.

Previously, Hunt has pledged to abolish the BBC Trust if his party comes into power, and has also vowed to cap BBC executives’ pay at the same level as the prime minister.
Initially, the BBC hit back at Hunt’s comments about pay but it subsequently revealed plans to slash its salary bill by 25% over the next three and a half years, by discounting salaries and axing more than 100 senior managers.

Article: Katherine Rushton
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