BBC licence fee to be cut?

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POLICE BBC Ford/TV centre

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has signalled the BBC licence fee could be dramatically slashed. The £145.50 fee, which raises around £3.6bn for the Corporation every year, is considered by some as outdated and pricey - especially when many avoid paying it by watching BBC content via the iPlayer.

Could it mean a pay-as-you-view model for the future instead?

Under pressure

There are quite a few options, including a 'TV tax', a bit like utility bill. The idea the licence fee could be drastically overhauled will worry the Corporation when viewing figures are already under pressure and a variety of other content mediums - Netflix, YouTube, etc - are proliferating.

Chairman of the Commons Culture Select Committee John Whittingdale has described the BBC licence fee as built "for a different age". He told the Mail it could be scrapped by 2016 when the BBC Charter - which sets out how the BBC operates - is renewed.

"Large amount"

"We have a situation," he told the paper, "where if you watch live TV online you have to pay the licence fee and if you watch it on a five minute delay you don't. Even if someone watches live TV online and doesn't pay its very difficult to detect."

In an emailed statement, the BBC told AOL Money that the Licence Fee, at 40p per day, "remains much more popular than alternative methods of funding the BBC and we are working hard to offer the public the best value possible for every penny."

Still Culture Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday that "it is a large amount" for families to pay.

Fake couch

Meanwhile more BBC cuts continue. The corporation has just cut more than 60 jobs in radio (BBC Radio has to to save £38m by 2016/17) with around 200 jobs lost by 2017.

However these cuts run alongside other stories - like the alleged £48,000 the BBC spent on a 'interactive' fake TV set and couch in its Salford Media City UK complex for a "hands on" public experience.

You can examine BBC staff salaries and expenses here. Politically, the tone has been set, then. If the Conservatives win the next election, the BBC's funding remit will come under increasing pressure, not less.