BBC issued TV licence warning as Rishi Sunak urges broadcaster to ‘cut cloth’

Rishi Sunak fired a warning shot at the BBC over the licence fee saying the corporation has to be “realistic” about what it can expect people to pay. The levy is set to be hiked to £169 in April following a two-year freeze due to rampant inflation that fuelled the cost of living crisis.

Mr Sunak said it was right that the BBC helped take pressure off households by not increasing the price. But he said “going forward” the broadcaster needs to think carefully about how much it charges people.

There are mounting calls for the licence fee to be abolished and replaced by a subscription model like Netflix or other online streaming services. The licence fee charter is up for renewal in 2027.

Asked if the licence fee is sustainable and needs a major overhaul, Mr Sunak said: “I think it is welcome that the BBC are looking at making savings and efficiencies in how they operate. It’s really important that when things are difficult everyone is doing what they can to ease the cost of living for families.

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“That’s certainly what I have done over the last year and made a bunch of decisions that haven’t been easy. But that’s helped to bring inflation down to ease the burden and the cost of living. The BBC, like any other organisation that serves the public should be looking to do that and cut its cloth appropriately so I think that is very welcome.”

The Prime Minister added: “I think going forward, the BBC – final decisions haven’t been made, obviously – should be realistic about what it can expect people to pay at a time like this. That, I think, is the right approach.”

The September Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure was 6.7 per cent which would see the TV Licence increase by £10.65 to £169.65 – the exact amount has still to be confirmed.

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