BBC licence fee branded 'one of the most draconian taxes' in scathing rant by ex-Labour MP

Simon Danczuk has criticised the licence fee

The BBC licence fee was criticised by Simon Danczuk

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 22/09/2023

- 20:26

The broadcaster has been under fire over its funding in recent years

Former Labour MP Simon Danczuk has hit out at the “draconian” BBC licence fee amid calls for its scrappage.

The broadcaster has been under fire over its funding in recent years, with culture minister Sir John Whittingdale suggesting it may need to consider alternative funding options in the future.

Speaking on GB News, Danczuk says the licence fee is a “draconian measure” imposed on the Britons.

A TV licence costs £159 a year and people watching television without one could find themselves landed with criminal charges.

“I don’t watch much live TV so I don’t pay the tax. I’m totally opposed to it, I think it is a terrible tax.”

Speaking on Lee Anderson’s Real World, Tory MP David Simmonds admitted that he is in favour of a licence fee, arguing that the BBC is a great export and service for its users.

“I think the BBC is a great British export, it’s a big cultural thing across the world”, he said.

“Particular having children’s TV, being able to access that without adverts is important for a lot of mums and dads.”


The BBC licence fee is under fire


Questioned about whether people should be “forced” into paying the fee, he asserted that it’s a “long term question”.

He added: “We know that it doesn’t just pay for the BBC, it pays for a lot of content.

“It’s a huge export. It gives us huge cultural capital across the world. It expands British influence and I think that’s a good thing.”

Speaking in July, Sir John Whittingdale suggested the licence fee may need to be reconsidered at the end of its charter period.

Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson spoke to Simon Danczuk and David Simmonds


He said: “The Government has made clear that the licence fee will remain in place for the remainder of this charter period, but he is right that there are challenges going forward.

“The number of people paying the licence fee has fallen by 1.9 million in the last five years.

“Therefore it is right that we should look at possible alternative sources of funding for the BBC in the longer term, that will be focus of the funding review.”

Questions have lingered over the licence fee for a lengthy period of time, with previous culture secretary Nadine Dorries suggesting it would be abolished completely in 2027.

Dorries said: “This licence fee announcement will be the last.

“The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over.

“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

The plans to cancel the fee appear to have been shelved for now, but questions remain over its long term future.

You may like