'The BBC licence fee is the most regressive tax we have in this country - It's just NOT fair!'

BBC licence fee

The BBC licence fee must be scrapped, a top Tory has demanded

GBN Membership

By GBN Membership

Published: 27/12/2023

- 16:17

In this GBN members-only video, Brendan Clarke-Smith says the BBC licence fee should be permanently scrapped

A former Government minister has blasted the BBC licence fee as a deeply unfair tax on the poor that needs to be disbanded.

Speaking to GB News Community Editor Michael Heaver in Westminster, Brendan Clarke-Smith declared: "I don't think in this day and age you can continue funding the BBC the way you do.

"There's all this different choices. I don't hate the BBC. I don't detest the BBC or anything like that.

"I don't like some of the editorial positions. Sometimes I may have issues with Gary Linker or whoever else it is.

"I probably would pay for the BBC. But I would have a choice to pay for it. Otherwise, I can watch something else.

"What I don't like is how we criminalise people. If you look at the number of prosecutions for television licenses, it's disproportionately people on low incomes, disproportionately women, disproportionately elderly people and so on as well."

Currently anybody that uses "television receiving equipment" to watch live TV or streaming - including BBC iPlayer - requires a TV licence, which will cost £169.50 per household from April.

The requirement for a licence applies on any device - including mobile phones - regardless of which television channels a person receives or how those channels are received.

If you don't have a TV licence you can be fined up to £1000, hit with a 'victim surcharge' of 40% of the fine and prosecution costs of around £120.

If you refuse to pay the fine, you could ultimately be sent to jail.

The Bassetlaw MP went on to describe the licence fee as the most "regressive tax" in Britain.

Clarke-Smith, 43, added: "I pay the same television license as someone who's on minimum wage.

"Why not a hybrid model? I really don't think that what the BBC provides and what they charge for it is is fair anymore.

"I think they either need to cut the services and keep it as it is or, my personal preference, would be to do away with the licence fee altogether and then move to a subscription model."

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