What do you make of the BBC’s director general concession that the licence fee could be scrapped and replaced with funding via council or income taxes – or even a levy on electricity bills?

Mark Thompson’s comments have been taken as an admission-that the growing use of new technology to watch programmes will make the licence fee obsolete.

Rubbish. It’s not new technology that invalidates the license tax- it is the very concept of forcing us to fund a biased and insidious State broadcaster. And as for the notion of transferring this cost to an income tax or council tax – NO WAY. Thoughts?

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22 Responses to What do you make of the BBC’s director general concession that the licence fee could be scrapped and replaced with funding via council or income taxes – or even a levy on electricity bills?

  1. Llew says:

    He can probably sense the tide is turning against the BBC. The bias is becoming more visible and more people are noticing and asking why are they paying for it.

    Plus the waste of money on so called celebrities and the excesses in covering outdoor events is leading to more and more questioning the value for money (or lack of it).

    Perhaps therefore the number of non-payers is rising rapidly. Chuck in a recession and even more will simply stop paying. He can see which way the BBC is heading.


  2. Ed T says:

    No way.


  3. Martin says:

    Why doesn't the BBC suggest the obvious? Subscription?


  4. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely outrageous ….. how many households in Britain are excempt from the charge for community services ?

    It's not just the BBC who spews forth daily left wing propaganda – taxpayers have been funding the millions paid to ITV for government PR, advertizing, 'social engineering' and 're-writing Britain's history and heritage programmes. I more than strongly suspect this will increase if licence payers money is transferred from the BBC.

    Time to turn off and stop being ripped off …..


  5. frankos says:

    Governments hate abolishing taxes, it reduces their opportunity to waste our hard earned on the kind of "vote winning" crap that they like to spend it on.
    New Labour uses our cash to keep itself in power by redistributing money from the floating vote Average Family to the Labour voting ne'er do wells.
    The only solution is to have the electoral boundaries changed so they don't institutionally favour Labour, and by taming the BBC by subscription.
    Can you imagine all those Lefty luvvies having to compete in the real commercial world without their £3.5 billion tax?


  6. AntiCitizenOne says:

    Subscription not extortion should fund entertainment.


  7. JohnA says:

    Subscription is the only answer – maybe with a much-reduced basic licence fee as a transitional measure.

    Trying to hide the licence fee within income tax is an implicit recognition that it is hugely unpopular – that it is an anachronism and a highly regressive tax, sticking out like a saw thumb and crying out for abolition.


  8. Idiotboy says:

    Thompson has clearly recognised which direction the wind is blowing, and this particular piece of nonsense is meant to divert the next government into a simple argument about funding instead of a full-frontal assault on the real issues.

    The real task of course is to take the organisation apart bit by bit and weed out the cabal of left / liberal thinkers and would-be social engineers who seem to infest it from top to bottom, and who insist on using TV poll tax payer's money to push their pernicious agenda.

    I doubt Thompson's ruse will work. The bias is now too clear to be missed by anyone with an interest in the real world, and the opportunity to put this right must not be passed up by a newly elected government.

    Especially if it is formed by one of the parties which has suffered most at the BBC's hands.


  9. adam says:

    i vote subscription.


  10. Ron Todd says:

    This would help the labour party by cutting the overall tax burden on many of their supporters and moving it on to natural Torie voters.

    Adding the cost on to income tax would make it easier to hide how much we are paying for the BBC.


  11. Beeboidal says:

    Council or income tax? He is joking, surely.

    There is absolutely no excuse not to change to a subscription service. The technology is there, and in a few years the analogue signal will be gone; all will be digital.

    I was going to say there is an advantage in this for the BBC too. Under a subscription system, they can cast aside any pretense of being impartial and broadcast left-wing propaganda to their heart's content. But they seem to be doing that already.


  12. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Nothing original ever comes from these overpaid parasites.

    A couple of years ago France moved from a directly billed Television Licence ("Redevance Audiovisuelle" ) which funds the state-run channels (just over £100 a year) to collecting along side the official taxes Tax Habitation and Tax Fonciere – the equivalent of Council Tax.

    It arrives on residents annual bill and is automatically added to what you have to pay. The only way out is to present yourself at the Depot des Impots and argue that you don't own a television.

    French television news is scrupulously non-partisan, unlike the Labour Party Press Release Reading Service we get from the BBC, and peoples main complaints is the volume of dubbed British and American cop shows that pass for "entertainment". The license fee is less controversial and I think its recognised as just a "tax" anyway.

    But I am sure the BBC would want to pretend it is independent of government.Having the government collect your income for you might make people wonder…


  13. Charles says:

    Abolishing the vile licence tax isn't even on their radar and so we all need to take EVERY opportunity to put it there.

    Thanks to Tessa Jowell's largesse with OUR money the latest inflation-plus(!) deal will push the impost to over £150 within a couple of years. Disgusting.

    We need the BBC to be sold to the private sector NOW. It can then take its chances in the free market like any other business.


  14. pete says:

    How happy would the councils or the electricity companies be about this proposal?

    At the moment councils and utility companies take our money for necessities of life. Would they want to be associated with price hikes which are used to fund trash like Eastenders, Casualty and Top Gear?


  15. JohnW says:

    Subscription only. The luvvies and the ethnic minorities that think it's so wonderful can get their hands in their pockets and pay for their broadcasting mouthpiece. Indeed, if they are made to pay back-subs for the past 50 years or so that Al Beeb has been spouting propaganda on their behalf, everyone else could enjoy a nice rebate.

    Rename it SIMBA (the Socialist Islamic Multicultural Broadcasting Association) so the whole country will all know exactly where it's loyalties lie.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the present license fee is the best system after all – at least we have the choice of not paying (o.k. we are treated as criminals for doing so) – If the BBC tax is taken from council tax/ income tax or whatever then the BBC will go on expanding until the only thing that can be seen from space is the BBC.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, it seems you either didn't read or understand what was said:

    In an interview with Prospect Magazine, Mr Thompson said: ‘The BBC’s reach and perceived indispensability to virtually every household in the UK still feels very secure.
    ‘You may argue that a television licence fee may no longer be the right fiscal treatment – but it seems to me that, if the public and political support
    for a shared investment exists, fiscal means can be found to pay for it.’

    When asked if he meant through normal tax revenue, Mr Thompson replied: ‘Perhaps you could bung it in with council tax or income tax, or increase the levy on electricity – though I think this is undesirable.’

    The BBC clarified Mr Thompson’s position last night. A spokesman said: ‘Various alternative methods of funding the BBC – including through the tax system – were put to the director general in an interview and he replied that this was undesirable.
    ‘That remains his view and he strongly believes in the licence fee.


  18. Rob says:

    So, he wants to abolish a massively regressive tax and…impose an even more regressive tax.

    How about you supply a service and people choose to purchase it? Radical, eh?!


  19. Anonymous says:

    You will never get the BBC services by subscription alone. It is the state broadcaster. No government could risk loosing the control that the BBC provides. One way or another, either through TV licensing or taxation we will have to continue to fund the BBC.


  20. TheCuckoo says:

    Subscription is not the answer as it would have to be so high that very few people would bother.

    The argument that the BBC often use about the license is that it represents good value for money. Well, this is true. But it is only true because everybody with a TV is forced to contibute, and therefore the cost per person is correspondingly low.

    For instance, if it was compulsory to have SKY tv, the SKY subscription would be lower too – everybody pays, but everybody pays less. Nice idea except there is no choice. Socialism, anyone?

    So, if you ge rid of the license and replace it with a subscription, some people (a lot I think) will opt out – so the average price goes up.

    Then the chavs have a choice – keep the license fee as-is, OR pay more for the same crap you're getting now… wonder which they'd choose?

    So, fundamentally, Im against the subscription argument – its a red herring designed.

    Let is sink or swim as an entirely ad-funded commercial channel.

    I think it will sink and good riddance to it.


  21. TheCuckoo says:

    oops — "its a red herring designed to turn the argument away from the real issue"


  22. Anonymous says:

    "the growing use of new technology to watch programmes will make the licence fee obsolete."

    The growing use of new technology means fewer people are watching programmes of any kind, and in particular BBC programmes. Not only that, the growing number of young people that have grown up with the interactive delights of the internet and the wide choice of programmes on Sky et al have negligible interest in sitting in front of the TV all day being spoon-fed socialist propaganda that belongs to another age. It is the demographics that will do for the BBC – they can no longer rely on Blue Peter and Newsround to suck youngsters in to their adult programming – kids have better things to do. The only programme from the BBC that my kids regularly watch is Top Gear (and they watch that on "Dave"!)