BBC Licence Fee Frozen for Six Years

Viewers who hate having to pay for the Beeb have some good news.

It has been announced that the BBC Licence Fee has been frozen for six years. There was press speculation that the licence fee would be cut by the Coalition Government or that the BBC would have to share it with other broadcasters such as S4C. However, that no longer seems to be the case with the licence fee instead remaining at the current rate of £145.50.

It emerged late yesterday that the coalition government was considering making the BBC ‘foot the bill’ for the free television licences for pensioners over the age of 75.

Such a move would have cost the corporation hundreds of millions of pounds; more than the total budget for BBC Two. The BBC has now agreed to take over the funding of the World Service – from the foreign office – and also the Welsh language channel S4C. It is likely therefore that the Government will retain the cost of the free television licences given the BBC’s new commitments and the frozen cost of television licences. 

The freezing of the fee, and the funding of World Service and S4C, will mean cost cutting measures across the BBC as the corporation will be effectively be getting less money each year because of rising inflation but now has additional funding responsibilities.

The BBC has already outlined planned to cut some services to save costs with Blast and the BBC Asian Network closing although for the moment BBC Radio 6 will remain open. The corporation is also reducing the amount if pays in the form of executives pay with several high profile figures – such as the Deputy General Mark Byford – leaving the BBC.

Taking on the funding for the World Service, S4C and the freezing of the television licence is expected to cost the corporation less than footing the bill for the free television licences.