THE BBC has been told to abolish the TV licence fee as the publicly-funded broadcaster “fails to offer unbiased” news coverage, a political leader has claimed.
The leader of the SDP, William Clouston, has insisted that the BBC‘s TV licence fee charge is “complete anachronism”. He suggested that the broadcaster should monetise past programmes and slim down its “bloated” company. Mr Clouston went on to claim the BBC is failing to offer unbiased news coverage.
Speaking to Calvin Robinson from Defund the BBC, Mr Clouston said: “The first line is to get rid of the licence fee which I think is a complete anachronism.
“There’s no need to charge people a flat tax for this service.
“We need to get rid of that. The BBC can, will and should be funded by Government directly, I think, and also by making more of its own subscriptions.
“They can monetise past programmes. Broadly the BBC is vastly bloated and it needs slimming down.”
Mr Clouston continued: “The first thing is to abolish the licence fee.
“The issue over impartiality is the key problem. We looked into this in great detail, we think that we should have a royal commission to properly examine its bias.
“We included Channel 4 in that which is also a publicly funded broadcaster because both organisations are failing to offer what their charters say they should offer which is to be politically unbiased.
“They’re obviously failing at that.”
The BBC has always denied allegations of bias and in its editorial guidelines the cooperation states it is “impartial, seeking to reflect the views and experiences of our audiences”.
On the BBC position, a spokeswoman for the Department of Media said: “It is an open recruitment process and all public appointments are subject to a robust and fair selection criteria.”
Mr Clouston’s comments come as the Culture Secretary said he does not want to send a signal that it is legitimate to not pay the TV licence.
Oliver Dowden made the comment to MPs as the Government prepares to publish its response to a consultation on decriminalization.
He also denied that decriminalising licence fee evasion was an agenda set out by Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.
The BBC has warned that switching to a civil system would cost the broadcaster more than £200million a year.
“I do think there are major challenges around decriminalisation which we continue to consider,” Mr Dowden told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
“I am concerned that… we do not send a signal that it’s acceptable not to pay your TV licence. So, I’d be concerned around sending signals around non-payment.”