Nick Ross calls on BBC to scrap TV licence

A survey revealed 51 per cent want to scrap the TV licence fee completely.

About a third of those quizzed were against the idea of ditching the obligatory payment while 15 per cent were undecided, according to ComRes research commissioned by think-tank Whitehouse Consultancy.

But 40 per cent of those polled opposed completely the suggestion that the “current system of a compulsory licence fee paid by individuals who watch live television” is the best way of funding the BBC.

The results come as ministers and Corporation executives prepare for the Government review in 2016 of the broadcaster’s charter.

New Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has indicated he is prepared to be radical in reconsidering BBC funding, claiming many families find the £145.50 licence fee “a lot of money” to pay each year.

Chris Whitehouse, chairman of the think-tank, said: “There clearly isn’t solid support for the licence fee model and the public appears willing to consider alternative means of funding the BBC, as long as abolishing the fee doesn’t mean higher taxes.

I’m one of the few people calling for the abolition of the licence fee who is doing this because they treasure the BBC

Nick Ross
“These figures show the huge job still to be done by the BBC if it is to have a strong hand in future in renegotiating the licence fee and justifying why the public should continue to pay it.

“The BBC is a world- renowned institution of which I am a keen supporter. It is alarming that its support-base has been allowed to erode to this low level.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Support for the licence fee is higher today at 53 per cent of the population than 10 years ago, when it was 31 per cent. And our research shows the licence fee remains the most popular way of funding the BBC across all ages and backgrounds.

“It’s tremendous value and ensures everyone gets access to great content that informs, educates and entertains.”

Nick Ross, 39, has long called for the abolition of the licence fee.

The former Crimewatch presenter argued earlier this year that the annual payment for every home should be replaced with a pay-per-view or subscription charge.

He said: “I’m one of the few people calling for the abolition of the licence fee who is doing this because they treasure the BBC.

“The experience of BSkyB is that people will voluntarily pay far more than under criminal sanction, and easily enough to promote and subsidise the encrypted radio-receiver technology that would need to be phased in.”

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