‘You could just make it not a tax!’ Tom Harwood blasts plan to make rich pay more for ‘regressive’ licence fee

‘You could just make it not a tax!’ Tom Harwood blasts plan to make rich pay more for ‘regressive’ licence fee

WATCH NOW: Tom Harwood blasts BBC plans for the licence fee

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 27/03/2024

- 17:08

The BBC licence fee has remained at the same rate for the last two years

The BBC has been criticised by GB News hosts Tom Harwood and Emily Carver, as plans for the broadcaster's licence fee to go up to £169.50 next month have been revealed.

The decision follows two years of the price remaining steady amid a raft of cost-cutting measures at the television company.

The BBC's Director-General Tim Davie has said it is "not his job to simply drive the licence fee higher", but "funding reform is necessary".

Davie says he is open to a "more progressive" licence fee and said the broadcaster will launch its "biggest-ever consultation process" next year, so the public can drive the debate on its future.

Tom Harwood and Tim Davie

Tom Harwood has hit out at the BBC over plans to reform the TV licence fee

GB News / PA

Speaking at a Royal Television Society (RTS) event in London on Tuesday, Davie asserted that "currently nearly every adult uses the BBC every month", so they are "offering good value" for the service.

He added: "I think it is right to ask fundamental questions about its longevity in a world that is now full of choice."

Reacting to the plans, GB News host Tom Harwood said the licence fee is already a "regressive tax" for Britons, and fumed that the move "is not the answer".

Tom raged: "I don't think the answer to fix it is to simply say okay, we'll make rich people pay more. You could just make it not a tax!"

Tim Davie

BBC's Director-General Tim Davie has set out plans for their 'biggest ever'


Co-host Emily was in agreement, and suggested the idea is similar to "asking rich people to pay more for the same sandwich that someone on a lower income has bought".


Emily raged: "Where does this end? You can't always means test everything. Should Netflix be cheaper if you're on a lower income?"

Tom responded and added that there "are different products with Netflix" depending on if the customer wishes to pay for adverts or not.

He explained: "That seems like a reasonable market offer. It doesn't seem so reasonable to means test it, and you can only means test a product like that if you're operating it like a tax."

Tom also argued that the biggest issue with the BBC licence fee is it "is a service that not everyone uses, but everyone who watches TV has to pay for".

Tom Harwood

Tom Harwood said the BBC TV licence fee is 'regressive'

GB News

Emily was in agreement with Tom, claiming: "And the problem is tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people are dropping out of the licence fee altogether every year. So this is just one suggestion to try and claw back some of that money.

"What are they going to do, charge you double if you earn more than 60 grand a year or 100 grand a year? People will say I'm not going to pay it at all. And then what do you say about pensioners, whether they should pay a reduced rate or not at all?"

Emily concluded: "I think the licence fee as a concept is on its last legs. With all of these competing streaming services people just don't see the value as they did before."

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