Boris Johnson has ordered his aides to launch an urgent review into decriminalising the BBC license fee in the wake of his election triumph.
The move, which is bound to trigger a showdown with the corporation, comes as Downing Street has decided to impose an effective boycott of Radio 4’s flagship news programme over allegations of pro-Remain bias.
The Telegraph understands that Downing Street is preparing to launch a formal consultation on whether television viewers should face prosecution for failing to pay the £154.50 annual cost for watching live television or iPlayer, the broadcaster’s catch-up service.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a former board member of the official Vote Leave campaign, who is now a defence minister, was being tipped as a possible new Culture Secretary on Saturday night.
The Prime Minister last week questioned how much longer the Government could justify funding a broadcaster out of “a general tax”, in remarks at an election rally. […]
Last year, 25.8 million households had TV licences, with the income from fees worth £3.6bn to the BBC in 2018-9. The review is likely to example replacing the current criminal sanctions with a civil system of fines for non-payment.
The BBC has pointed out that a review carried out under David Cameron in 2014 “found the current system of criminal deterrence and prosecution should be maintained.”
Nick Robinson, a Today presenter, has previously warned that “a normal service from the BBC means you will hear people you disagree with say things you don’t like.”
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December 14, 2019 at 11:19PM