Burnley MP says most constituents don't believe BBC is value for money

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has said a survey he ran with his constituents revealed that most do not believe the BBC licence fee is value for money.

By Dominic Collis
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:55 am

Mr Higginbotham was speaking as the government announced it was freezing the licence fee for two years.

The plans for the new licence fee settlement cover a period of six years with the fee remaining at £159 until 2024, then rising in line with inflation for the following four years. The new changes will take effect from April 1st 2022 until March 31st 2028.

Commenting on the announcement Burnley and Padiham MP Antony Higginbotham, who ran his own survey on what residents thought of the licence fee, said: “When I asked residents their views on the BBC licence fee, over 80% of those who responded said it did not offer value for money.

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Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

"That is now being reflected in Government policy, with a freeze on the licence fee for the next two years. But more importantly, this announcement is about kickstarting a review into the future framework of the BBC, where all views will be heard.

"My take is that in an age where we have an abundance of choice for media and content, (just look at Netflix or Disney+) I don’t think the answer is a compulsory fee for content some don’t watch or see.

"There are better solutions, which will still preserve the importance of local news and services. And with a tighter funding model for the next two years, I believe the BBC has the opportunity to focus more on quality content - locally and nationally - and less on gestures like a £100m. diversity programme.”

The settlement will give the corporation the financial certainty it needs and a clear funding stream to deliver effectively on the Mission and Public Purposes set out in its Royal Charter while protecting households at a time when many are facing financial pressures.

It means the BBC is expected to receive around £3.7 billion in licence fee funding in 2022 and £23 billion over the duration of the settlement period. The BBC also receives more than £90m. per year from the government to support the BBC World Service.