'It's a no-brainer': Scrap TV licence fee and introduce new 'tax' for all households, says TV boss

Sir Peter Bazalgette

Sir Peter Bazalgette said a TV 'tax' system would be a 'no-brainer'

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 29/01/2024

- 16:51

Updated: 29/01/2024

- 16:52

The TV licence fee will increase from £159 a year to £169.50 from April 2024

The TV licence fee could be scrapped and replaced with a tax paid by households whether they watch TV or not, a leading TV executive has said.

Former ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette has suggested reform of the “regressive” TV licence fee, amid a Government review of the charge.

Sir Peter said the review should look at the system operating in Germany, where households pay a monthly fee to support public service broadcasting, regardless of whether they watch TV or not.

This public broadcasting fee, which is known as Rundfunkbeitrag and costs 18.36 euros (around £15.65) per month, requires businesses and public institutions to pay the charge.

BBC sign in London

The BBC relies on funding from the TV licence fee


Sir Peter suggested this could be enforced in the UK, alongside a “graduated” licence fee, paid for by adults who watch live or streamed TV, the i reports.

This “graduated” licence fee would increase in line with tax rates, meaning higher earners pay more.

Disabled people and those on means-tested benefits would be exempt from paying the fee under this proposal.

Sir Peter said: “I think it’s a no-brainer to introduce here.

“It does break the link between watching the BBC and paying for a TV licence (for businesses and public bodies) but I think that is legitimate.

“I pay for hospitals I don’t use and I’m happy to do so as a citizen.

"It’s a contribution to civil society and companies should do it too for broadcasting.”

He suggested the money would support the BBC, but other public service broadcasters could bid for some of the cash.

Sir Peter Bazalgette was speaking ahead of the How do we pay for the BBC after 2027? debate on February 13, at 6pm.

The BBC said: “We welcome the debate on whether the licence fee needs to evolve for the future, so that the BBC can continue to thrive and deliver for audiences in the UK and around the world.”

The TV licence fee is currently £159 per year. It's possible to pay via monthly instalments, on a quarterly basis and yearly.

From April this year, the charge will increase to £169.50 a year.

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