UK Government Freezes BBC License Fee for Two Years

The United Kingdom government has frozen the license fee of BBC for the next two years, UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries confirmed on Jan. 17.

Dorries told the House of Commons that the fee will remain at £159 ($217) until 2024 and will rise in line with inflation for the next four years.

The government said that the BBC is expected to receive around £3.7 billion ($5 billion) in license fee funding in 2022 and £23 billion ($31 billion) over the duration of the settlement period.

The government added that the BBC receives over $90 million annually from the government to support the BBC World Service.

“At a time when families are facing a sharp increase in their living costs, we simply could not justify asking hard-working households to pay even more for their TV license,” Dorries said.

“This is a fair settlement for the BBC and for license fee payers. The BBC must support people at a time when their finances are strained, make savings and efficiencies, and use the billions in public funding it receives to deliver for viewers, listeners, and users,” 

The license fee pays for services including television, radio, podcasts, apps, and the BBC website.

In a joint statement, BBC Chairman Richard Sharp and BBC Director-General Tim Davie called the move “disappointing.”

“A freeze in the first two years of this settlement means the BBC will now have to absorb inflation. That is disappointing — not just for license fee payers, but also for the cultural industries who rely on the BBC for the important work they do across the UK,” Sharp and Davie said.

Sharp and Davie also noted that the BBC’s income for UK services was already 30% lower in real terms than it was 10 years ago.

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