BBC Licence Fee is an archaic tax that must be abolished

Those that wish to watch the BBC should voluntarily pay for it, just like any other service. Those that don’t wish to, should not be forced to.

Chris Mendes, Party Leader

What do you like to watch on television? Soaps? Dramas? Documentaries? Reality TV? Sport? We all have different interests, and left to our own devices, we will each choose to subscribe to different channels.

If you like self-righteous left-wing political snobbery dressed up as comedy, you’ll watch BBC Two. If you like self-righteous left-wing political opinions dressed up as news, you’ll watch Sky News. If you like the same old predictable crime dramas where Sergeant Clever Dick cracks the case in three days with the murderer confessing without a solicitor present, you’ll watch ITV.

The BBC is reliant on an archaic unfair tax that should be abolished

And if, like me, you find yourself paying a fortune to watch your football team in frustration as they succumb to injury and lose because they appear to be made out of cheese, you’ll watch BT Sport or Sky Sports.

And then there are the twenty-first century on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Now TV with a wide range of rich programming, as well as YouTube with an endless collection of professional and amateur content which in many cases would give any established broadcaster a run for its money.

In today’s world when the choice offered by so many different providers has never been greater, how can it possibly make sense that the law forces us to pay the BBC a tax, known as the “Licence Fee”, to watch live television of any kind regardless as to who broadcasts it?

Can you imagine if we had a state-owned supermarket (which would be bad enough by itself) called the BFC – the British Food Corporation. But rather than simply being one supermarket among many that you could choose to go to, rather than Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Asda for example, the BFC, backed by law, charged you a Trolley Fee, regardless as to which supermarket you chose to push a trolley around inside, and like the Licence Fee and the BBC, revenue from the Trolley Fee made up around 75% of its budget.

Would this make any sense? No, of course not. And that’s how bad the BBC Licence Fee is.

With its origins from the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1904, extending to television when the BBC began television services in 1936, the Licence Fee is an archaic and unfair tax that no longer makes sense in the modern world.

Subscription Model – Fairness across the board

So what needs to happen? Two things. First, the BBC must be forced to switch to a modern subscription model just like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, etc.

Those that wish to watch the BBC should voluntarily pay for it, just like any other service. Those that don’t wish to, should not be forced to.

BBC employees like Gary Lineker earn an annual salary of over £1.75 million, thanks to the licence fee

Not only would this correct an injustice, it would also improve the BBC. When people are paid regardless, they do not have the incentive to truly listen to their consumers, to cut costs or to substantially improve their end-product.

Abolish the Licence Fee, force the BBC’s salaries and wider budget to be tied directly and exclusively to the free choice of the television consumer, without the protection of largely guaranteed taxation, and watch the retirement of long-running tired programmes well past their sell-by date, complaints about political bias being taken more seriously, and the immediate reduction of grotesque salaries of millions of pounds a year for average-talent so-called “stars” when they have to manage their finances much more responsibly.

The second course of action is for us as individuals to immediately cancel our Licence Fee and request a refund for the remaining time left before the expiry date. Simply log on to the TV Licensing website, print out the form and return by post, which I for one have already done.