BBC Trust chair to call for update to licence fee

Billy Bambrough
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New BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead Arrives For First Day At Work
BBC Trust Chair Rona Fairhead thinks on-demand services should be paid for in the licence fee (Source: Getty)

The government's commitment to overhaul the BBC licence fee is expected echoed today by the chair of the BBC Trust Rona Fairhead later today.

She is set to call for an update of the licence fee to make it encompass the BBC’s growing on demand services.

Currently households only need to pay a licence fee if they watch any of the BBC’s live broadcasts.

Fairhead will say that she wants to see an “i-licence fee for the digital age”.

The government has previously said it wants to close the loophole that currently lets people watch BBC programing without a licence.

Currently the licence fee is paid by 97 per cent of households in the UK.

Fairhead will also say a full on overhaul of the BBC is not something the British public wants.

She does however think the BBC needs a clearer, sharper focus by which it is measured and held accountable.

Fairhead is expected to say: “There is next-to-no public appetite for radical change in the BBC. Of course they want to see some changes, but people want tomorrow’s BBC to be protected but reformed.”

“They want evolution, not revolution,” she will add.

She will also outline the Trust’s opposition to a subscription model for funding the BBC.

Further top tier management cuts and the privatisation of BBC Worldwide will also be opposed by the Trust.

The BBC charter is currently under review with government negotiating with the corporation over its new royal charter

It’s scheduled to come into force at the start of 2017.

Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, earlier this year called for non-payment of the BBC’s licence fee to be decriminalised due to the burden it is placing on the justice system.

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