A review into how BBC should be funded launched as new TV licence fee is announced

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Your TV licence will go up by a tenner in 2024, which is less than the feared £14.50 increase, but still not great. 

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has launched a review into how the BBC is funded. The cost of living crisis has been hitting Britons rather hard of late, and an increase in the TV licence isn’t exactly welcome news. 

A TV licence now costs you £159 a year – or £53.50 if you own a black and white TV. This will remain unchanged until April 2024, but will then go up by a tenner and you’ll be paying £169.50 – or £57 if you like your programmes in black and white. The fee will remain the same for the next three years. 

“This is a fair deal that provides value for money for the licence fee payer while also ensuring that the BBC can continue to produce world leading content,” Frazer said in a statement.

“We know family budgets are stretched, which is why we have stepped in again – following two years of licence fee freezes – to reduce this year’s increase to less than a £1 a month,” the Culture Secretary continued. “But this settlement has highlighted other challenges faced by the BBC with the changing media landscape making the battle for audiences more competitive and the number of people paying the licence fee decreasing. This raises fundamental questions as to sustainability of the current licence fee system.

“So we are also launching a funding review of the BBC that will take a forensic look at the licence fee, and whether a reformed funding model could better support our national broadcaster to remain sustainable and affordable for audiences while driving growth in our creative industries. I want a thriving BBC, supported to inform, educate and entertain and this funding review will help us make sure we can deliver this for decades to come.”

The BBC is facing rising production costs as well as fierce competition from streaming services, so a rise in the licence fee was expected. Still, it’s tough news in the middle of a cost of living crisis. 

The review will be supported by a “panel of independent experts soon to be announced from across the broadcasting sector and wider business world” who will find alternative ways to fund the BBC. It’s a bit early to speculate what these could be, but it could see the BBC pivoting to a subscription-based model or maybe relying on advertising. 

The review will feed into the BBC Royal Charter which expires in 2027, which is when the BBC’s future funding model will be decided. 

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