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back to article UK.gov may cut BBC licence fee in 2012

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt reiterated over the weekend that the BBC’s licence fee could be cut in recognition of the “very constrained financial situation” the country currently faces. The Tory MP, in an interview with Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, accused the Beeb of being guilty of “extraordinary and outrageous” waste in the …

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Unhappy

Won't work

The BBC will still continue to pay out the high salaries to the likes of Wogan, Forsythe and Graham Norton, and will just spend less on programmes (101 ways to leave a gameshow anyone?)

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Stop

Is the BBC Spending really the problem?

Or is it the other websites charging for content which the BBC provides for free?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh but its NOT free

Anyone resident in the UK who owns equipment capable of receiving a live "broadcast" whether over RF or over the internet is forced to pay for this. If you don't then ultimately you're going to jail.

That is the problem. It is OUR money coerced from us under the threat of imprisonment. People tend to think that they ought to have a say in how that money is spent.

Lets not even go into BBC bias - and no I'm not talking Labour/Tory cos they are much of a muchness. Try going to Scotland and watch the BBC news/political output. Fantasy central.

I mean why the hell should some idiot (male or female) get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to front the news and that alone? In the commercial world then fine, let them do it. Their customers pay and they have a choice.

When you are compelled to pay for these idiots though, well that's when people get irritated.

Is the BBC worth the license fee? In England it probably is. Scotland - heh, you're having a laugh; ditto Wales and NI.

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FAIL

eh?

scotland gets a bloody good deal to be honest. welsh and scottish TV per capita are much more expensive than english stuff. wasnt it the BBC that spent ~£70M to get a scottish language channel. met anyone scottish that speaks this dialect? i havent. there are more polish and asian people in scotland that scottish speakers. yet the suckers in england pay for this again. same with wasting cash on welsh tv channels. if the welsh are that in need of welsh language channels you pay for them, dont expect others to pay. in all countries english is the main spoken language, so why should anything other than that be paid for by us?

let us not forget, my southern friend, that wales, scotland etc are all catered to better than anyone north of watford. but then thats the case for everything in the uk anyway. try watching the weather for lincolnshire, you see our region on the UK map for about 1 second, then watch it pan all over the UK.

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Grenade

DUH

Are you for real, the BBC does nothing for free. They hold an entire country to ransom which is how they get their £3.7 BILLION budget

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Silver badge
WTF?

Missed point: it went that way...

The original poster did not say anything about quality per capita, he just said it was crap.

Since the number of people in Wales and Scotland are each way less than that in England, I think it is fair to say that it being better per capita but still crap overall are not incompatible situations.

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Stop

I think you will find this interesting

You are not required (or to use your parlance: FORCED) to pay the licence fee if you own/purchase equipment capable of receiving a "broadcast" TV signal.

The requirement to pay is if you *DO* use it for that purpose. How do I know this? Here's how!

"If you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you're using."

Taken from: http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/

The operative portion of the above being: " . . . as they're being shown on TV . . . " ie *Broadcast*!

You can watch any amount of TV programming you want to Catchup on at the likes of iPlayer, 4OD, etc . . . so long as it's not at the time it is being *Broadcast*!

BTW, next time you go to purchase any equipment capable of receiving a TV Broadcast and are asked for your name and address, tell the sales droid to FOAD as it's not a legal requirement to provide that info to allow you to buy a telly, etc . . . !!

PS: I have a 32" *TV* that I hook up my Wii, DVD player and laptop to . . . An aerial, WTF for . . . TV is ess-aitch-one-tee!!

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Badgers

Same result as the RBWM bin collections then?

.....the fee will be frozen at £145 , but you get free M&S vouchers (aka food stamps).

BTW.... Blind people get the licence at half price .. WTF? .Never understood that. And why can't you get a bill in braille at the allpay places?

ps ... can we have a "Bodgers" icon?

(Bodgers Senor? we don' need no steenkin' Bodgers!)

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Anonymous Coward

Wow, if they do that I will be much better off!

Not.

In fact, if they scrapped the license fee entirely I'd probably not notice either and it certainly won't make a noticable difference! How poor do you have to be for any of these things to actually make a difference to you?

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Go

a

It's not about it making a personal difference. It's the principal.

Besides, why should I have to pay a hundred and fifty quid for something that I do not use?

(Though in fact I have recently told them to naff off seeing as I now have no TV receiving equipment so we'll see how that turns out)

(GO to the government about reducing the fee - preferably to £0)

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Stop

What I said would happen

Sadly what I said would happen pre-election. Hunt has alot of pressure put on him.

I'm not just talking Murdoch but the likes of Tindle Newspapers, from Hunts own constituency, who I strongly suspect have voiced their opinions to him. Sadly the outcome is the BBC will be held responsible for the decline of local newspapers and small scale radio stations. The reality is of course the media environment is changing, but Hunt must be seen to prop up the people who have given staunch financial support to the party.

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FAIL

ConDems repaying Murdoch's loyalty

I wondered how long it would take for the Conservatives to have to repay the free election campaigning that the Murdoch stable gave them. I really shudder at the thought of the dismantling of the BBC in favour of Sky's vision of the Broadcast media. We should also not forget that Sky has a budget about 600million higher than the BBC it is not playing second fiddle to the BBC as the Murdoch papers would have us believe.

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Anonymous Coward

Did you arrive at the wrong website?

Here's a helping hand www,grauniad.co.uk

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Headmaster

And now...

Let the torrent of people misspelling 'licence' with an 'S' commence. If you're American, you're forgiven. If not, you can join a certain British journo from El Reg who I believe does it deliberately (for reasons never explained).

Pedantic grammar Nazi logo because...

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Thumb Up

Cut all compulsory 'license fees'

The day public broadcasters start dying from having to face the market (oh, the horror!) would be a happy one for European consumers.

While we're at it, just have them pay back all 'license fees' accrued over the years!

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Flame

Eh?

"would be a happy one for European consumers"

Because the quality of our TV and radio would be determined by market forces? Yeah, for example American television leads the world in quality, happiness and "fair & balanced" commentary. Don't they?

I do love how critics of the BBC licence fee often point towards a market-based system as the better way. More expensive than the licence fee, with lower quality, and subject to whatever political whims Rupert Murdoch wants you to believe today. SkyFox: coming soon to a media oligopoly near you. First up on the new channel: "Why The Newspapers Owned By The People Who Own This TV Channel Are Great."

I mean, who in their right mind pays a subscription fee to watch adverts? Sky customers, that's who. And people with that sort of logic don't inspire confidence in their decision making capabilities.

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Thumb Up

Quality and the market

NatGeo or Discovery make decent programming, even if they're not subsidized.

I'll grant you that BBC 4 is strong on the documentary side and for that alone I would pay to have it included in my cable selection. Other than that, simply robbing your neighbour who would rather watch Spanish soap operas is distasteful.

BBC4 docus will survive, Top Gear will survive, nothing of value would be lost!

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Thumb Down

The answer is simple

Cameron etc owe Murdoch a favour, Murdoch wants the Beeb knee-capped, this is the way to do it, cut their funding, they can't compete with him.

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Protests have already surfaced...

38 Degrees again. That lot really need to pick a smaller number of issues and stick with them, rather than urging mass email campaigns on completely unrelated issues several times a week.

I came off their mailing list not long ago because I just can't be angry about the sheer number of issues they want to campaign on. It all turns into background noise and it will very quickly turn into background noise on the recipients' end too if they don't calm down. Two days of emails that are an annoyance and suddenly dry up, then you move on.

On the license fee cut, good. To be frank, I don't care if the Tories are using the recession as an excuse to do loads of things that they wanted to do anyway (which they are). If the BBC didn't exist and somebody suggested setting up a state broadcaster with a £3bn annual budget, paid for by a £145 tax on every home in the country, they'd be laughed out of the room.

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Yeah

But if someone suggested setting up the NHS, these days they'd be laughed out of the room as well. It doesn't meant that both the NHS and the BBC aren't two of the best things about the UK though.

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Bronze badge

I may actually get one then

As for the blind licence fee reduction, you don't have to be 100% blind to be registered blind. I used to work with a man who could only see a small area directly ahead of him, plenty for a television but not sufficient to safely walk down the street, so he was registered blind.

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Bronze badge

the point is to make up for the market's deficiencies

The purpose of public broadcasting is to cover the gaps that the market won't. Remember that the commercial operators' serve their customers --- and the customers are NOT us viewers, but the advertisers.

The BBC hasn't helped its own cause by pandering for ratings, though.

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Silver badge

Oh joy,

Now I can look for every channel full of crap, instead of merely most of them.

Aye well, if Radio 4 and perhaps BBC2 remain, it'll not be too bad. But the day the BBC starts inserting adverts - instead of merely leaving wholes in the programmes for them - is the day I sell the TV.

In spite of what Murdoch and his advert-ridden ilk would have you believe, there *is* a difference between the BBC and every other broadcaster in the world: the BBC's mandate is to deliver entertainment to people - and the commercial's mandate is to deliver eyeballs to advertisers.

I'll believe Murdoch's boast that he can deliver quality programming when he offers it free of advertising, able to stand on its own merits and attracting paying customers.

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Silver badge
WTF?

"by announcing plans to redirect £600m into "high quality" programmes"

Did they just admit to making crap? After all, with only £2 billion a year to spend, why should we have expected them to be focusing on quality anyway, eh?

GJC

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Well now they've sacked Ross...

... they're saving a bunch of money, so if they ditch a few more "big names" they could actually start making some quality programmes again instead of rubbish like 101 Ways to Strictly Come through a Hole in the Wall...

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Eh?

So because the government is raising other taxes they think it's only fair that they reduce this one. That doesn't compute. Surely in times of mass unemployment and general unhappiness what the great unwashed masses need is more TV, not less. And even eliminating the TV license completely wouldn't compensate for the other raises so that's disingenuous.

I reckon someone's realised it's an ideal time to bash the BBC. Given that the conservatives also want to kill off Ofcom I think we can sense the wrinkled hands of Mr. Murdoch here.

If you're going to get rid of the TVL (and to be honest I think they should) then at least be open and upfront about it. Don't try and claim to be being the people's friend.

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Stop

Now, see,

for the first two paragraphs I was right with you, but you just HAD to tack the licence-bash onto the end...

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Huh?

Why is it a 'licence bash'?

I happen to think that overall we'd be better off without it. That's just an opinion. Hardly a bashing.

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FAIL

less money = less quality

How will this help cut the massive deficit? It'll just mean less money for quality programme making, the game shows and soaps will continue being churned out because they fill the hours quite cheaply but the excellent BBC4 and BBC2 documentaries and comedies will probably get axed (and quite a lot of radio too).

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Boffin

@Nick Carter - are we the only ones...

... who are wondering exactly how *reducing* the license fee will help the deficit? Surely *increasing* the fee would bring in more funds to the gov't, some of which they would be able to siphon off with a little creative accounting... Now, *that* would help the deficit!

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Anonymous Coward

Ugh

The BBC is far from perfect. But it's by far the best broadcaster on the planet and that's mostly due to it being independent. Yes, it's perceived as lefty and so-on, but that's because of the people an independent organisation tends to attract.

But that's not my point - I don't want MegaMediaCorp(tm) running my Telly for profit, and I certainly don't want some megalomaniac scumbag like Murdoch in charge of said Corp. I'd like someone who is there to "Inform, educate and entertain".

I don't want a barrow load of advertising desperately foisted on me, and I certainly don't want the random bile spewed forth by the current competition to the BBC.

I suspect that if the BBC were butchered, people would be screaming for it back within a year, simply because of the sheer volume of crap they'd suffer if private corps took over. Or, we'd go out and do things like "socialise" or "play" because there's 500 channels of shite on the idiot box.

I do understand the desire to reign in profligate spending on stuff that isn't really worth it. I'd like to see the license fee revised - it was a good way to fund the BBC when it was created, but nowadays with the distribution methods moving on, it's not right (but the principle that they take it from the users and not the government should stand).

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Need to be changed not stopped

I agree with having to pay for the BBC, at least you don't get adverts, What i don't agree is the way it is put about where you will be imprisoned if you don't pay them, this needs to be changed, if you want the BBC then yes you will have to pay for it but if you don't want the BBC but still want to watch one of the other 100's of channels available, why should you pay for something you're not going to watch, things have changed an awful lot since the BBC was the only channel broadcasting, the BBC do not own the other channels available yet we have to pay the BBC to be able to watch them? how'd you figure that one out

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Silver badge

By a similar principle,

childless adults do not get a reduction in tax to save them paying for schools that they are not using, and an equal portion of your council tax gets spent on policing, regardless of whether you called 999 last year.

Follow your reasoning, and we'd have to have a variable rate license fee, based on which bits of the corporation's output that you chose to consume* - can I have a discount for only using Radio 4?

*I believe that this is how Sky <spit> is paid for.

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Bronze badge

You do not pay

the licence fee to watch BBC.

You pay it to operate a broadcast television receiver.

In the case of you watching sky, you pay the licence fee to enable you to watch a commercial station with long advertisements that are drawn-out even longer by insertion of self-advertising, making it hard work to watch a program without having to note down what was happening before the ads !

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Thumb Down

a

So you would be perfectly happy to pay say £70 a year to provide everyone in the country with a free newspaper with no adverts? For example imagine that the Metro stopped advertising and went with a similar system to the BBC.

Saying it's the same as schools or hospitals is clearly rediculous because there are no real alternatives for WHEN (not if) they are needed where as TV and radio are luxuries. And there are alternatives.

And the quality of every single show on the BBC is atrocious. I don't know what planet the BBC fanbois here live on if they think that Little Britain is better comedy than American Dad (picked something of similar level). Once over the BBC was good when they had the likes of the Fast Show or Goodness Gracious Me and even things like the Brittas Empire but now all you get is garbage. Even their documentaries are now always incredibly biassed and seem to be trying to ram some message home constantly. Remember - what you see on the beeb is not always made by them, if it's good it's probably been aired in the USA or Australia already.

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Uh... it iS "lefty and so on"

Ordinary Decent Britons refer to the BBC news as Pravda for a reason. After spending 11 years fawning over zanuLabor like a roofied cheerleader, they have to expect a few backhanders from the new quarterback.

And that's the Colonial-soccerball analogy that Hitler would have driven.

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nah

at least the little moustachiod nutter called it football. :)

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Eh?

I have lived in the UK for 36 years, I have never heard anyone refer to the Beeb or it's news as Pravda. As long as the Tories think that the BBC is too left wing and Labour think it is too right wing, we're on to a winner, when this stops something has gone wrong.

And, seriously - bringing Hitler into a discussion about a reduction in the licence fee?

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Stop

Just...

Wow. I'm an ordinary decent Briton, and I've never referred to the BBC news as Pravda; nor has anyone I have ever met.

Some kind of congratulations must surely be in order for - in a single post - invoking: relationship violence, (implied) drug-rape and Godwin's law.

Unless I'm getting the wrong end of the stick, and beating drugged up teenagers is common practice down your way, to the point that you'd actually say this in real conversation without offending anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

colour me cynical

but is this "cut" referring to the amount we will actually pay, or the amount of what we pay that the BBC will receive?

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WTF?

Axe the TVL

To those who shout the BBC is quality, ask yourself who has the worst logo's on TV today. The BBC. I cannot watch BBC3 with that giant purple crap on the screen with the occasional 'new' or 'catch up' inserted. Look at BBC4 world news, a MASSIVE animated logo filling the screen. cBBC, another animated piece of shit. The red button intruding on anything related to news or sport. Why doesn't it fade afer 10 seconds? If this is the future of the 'Best broadcaster in the world'. Then god help us. They pay their execs too much, free trips to the world cup anyone? On my money. Most people felt the pinch of the recession. But at the good old Beeb it was business as usual with the yearly price hike. If they had any shame they would have frozen it for a year. I welcome my jail cell at least TV is free inside.

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Quite right too!

In other news ConDems force Sky to reduce their Sports Package and cap advertising rates at ITV to show that fairness in shouldering the burden so typical of this regime in difficult times.

Bless their bleeding hearts ...

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to the guys baning on about 150/yr not being much

tell that to the millions unemployed.

if you imagine that the gov thinks £40/week is enough to live on (outside of london obv) if you are under 25. that means a whole months money is gone to tv tax.

i dont mind the bbc, they make the best natural history programmes and do some of the best comedy too. but i do object to them throwing cash around. its OUR cash. its not money they make from sales etc, like a commercial entity might.

its like the woman news reader on £100k+ (for reading an autocue!!!) who was so amazed that she had to pay for all her own clothes at work. i do and im on about 1/4 of what she is for doing a skilled job 4 days a week. they need to get in the real world. hardly any work in media couldnt be done by novices, yet they seem to think they are all worth several times the average salary.

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Paris Hilton

Just cull all of the programmes which..

feature celebrities doing this and that... I've had enough of it and I expect the fees cost the earth!

Or it can close broadcasting down from 24hrs to 6am to 12pm like in the 80's across all channels?

At least then Paris can find something else to watch between 12 and 6am...

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Megaphone

Let those who want it pay for it

They should just scrap the BBC TV Licence and if the Socialists/Communists want it let them pay for it

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Silver badge
FAIL

£145 = £12.08 / month.

Most people spend more than that on alcohol each *week*.

As for the accusations of slipping standards at the BBC: Google "John Birt" and read up on what he did to the BBC back in the early '90s. (Yes, under the previous *Tory* administration.) It was he who butchered the BBC as-was, and reduced it to little more than a shell of its former self, stuffed with middle managers and an internal "market", vastly inflating the costs of even basic programming. (Incidentally, Jonathan Ross' programmes were produced by Mr. Ross' own production company. That's why there's a big "HotSauce TV" logo at the end of the credits. This is the reason why the BBC cannot simply open up its archives for free, or even sell on many of its programmes: they don't *own* them. The new "Doctor Who" series are that increasingly rare exception: a fully in-house BBC production.)

Most of your License Fee is actually going to middle-managers, consultants, buyers, lawyers, etc., who have to get involved whenever an outside production company is used. And, thanks to the John Major administration, the BBC *has* to use such production companies for a huge chunk of its output. Take a look at most of that 'fiiller' crud that's shovelled into the schedule and you'll find most of it *isn't* made by the BBC.

Accusations of bias also hold little water: watch any of the satirical panel shows, like "Have I Got News For You" and you'll soon see the lie. Most people in the media distrust *all* politicians. Which is how it *should* be. However, the Tories have never made any secret of their hatred for the BBC and its ilk: they spent most of their previous administrations trying to privatise everything under the sun; it's hardly surprising the BBC felt it was going to be next under the hammer. Under John Birt's Director-Generalship, it damned near was. A pro-Public Services* bias is therefore hardly surprising.

That said, the BBC *does* need to be heavily remodelled away from old-school "broadcasting", perhaps becoming more like a state-owned content production company instead. The BBC could retain just one or two TV and radio channels mainly for educational programming, special events, pilots and similarly uncommercial content, with less need for exp. This would also have the natural side-effect of dramatically reducing the costs of running the BBC. (These channels would not need to broadcast 24 / 7 either.)

A separate, "BBC Syndication" arm would be concerned with selling BBC (and other production companies') output to commercial broadcasters overseas, much as a syndication company does in the US.

A democracy can only work where there is (a) timely and accurate information, and (b) a strong, effective, educational system. Without *both*, a true democracy cannot exist. And that's why we *need* something like the BBC, because it is NOT in the best interests of *commercial* media outlets to inform, educate and entertain. They only care about the "entertain" part. So something like the BBC helps keep it all in check. It gives us a baseline measurement of quality to which its rivals can be held.

* (Not necessarily "Pro Labour", as New Labour weren't particularly interested in keeping lots of state-owned assets on their books either.)

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Pint

Most people spend more than that on alcohol each *week*.

Agree! Alcohol's too expensive.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Well.

Top Gear seems to have jumped the shark and the tool, (or whatever the female version is), who wrecked the world service is now in charge of Radio 4. So basically they can take their licence fee and shove it.

bugger, can't have a Paris as well :-(

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WTF?

Keep the Status Quo

Quite honestly the BBC is one of the best things that Britain make.

If its license fee is reduced or abolished then it'll be the end of a golden era of public TV that will be missed when people see the crap that will replace it.

Long may it continue.

I for one will be writing to my MP if this goes ahead.

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Use general taxation

The license needs to be abolished because: 1) It's too costly to collect compared with general taxation 2) If it was funded out of general taxation the government would keep a much tighter reign on it's spending. 3) The license is unconstitutional because the BBC can't be voted out of office. No taxation without representation......!

If the BBC was funded from general taxation the government of the day would have to justify it to the electorate. I'm not against the BBC, just it's right to increase license fees and continually expand it's remit with no comeback. Some element of market forces needs to come to bear on the BBC, even if it's only those of an electorate. Currently it operates in a vacuum outside of normal supply/demand relationships.

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