The culture secretary has warned the BBC it would be making a “big mistake” if it thought the row over the licence fee was not an issue of public concern.
Baroness Nicky Morgan dismissed the notion that the broadcaster’s funding model was only relevant to those in Westminster, arguing instead that it affect the wider British public.
“The story of the last few years in politics has been Westminster not picking up on the signals from the public and I think that’s where the Boris Johnson government is determined not to go wrong, which is to listen to what people are saying,” she told the BBC’s Nick Robinson.
The BBC is facing scrutiny over its funding model amid declining viewing figures and the rising popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.
Johnson has asked aides to launch a review into whether viewers should face prosecution for failing to pay the £154.50 licence fee.
However, the BBC has warned such a move would cost it at least £200m in lost funding for programmes and services.
Speaking to the Political Thinking podcast, Morgan said the question of the licence fee “does come up on the doorsteps more and more”.
However, she insisted that the public service broadcaster still had a crucial role to play in the modern media landscape.
“We do need a national broadcaster with a very strong international footprint but also a brand that people turn to,” she said.
The BBC’s royal charter — the constitutional basis for the broadcaster — is next up for renewal in 2027, with a mid-term review set for 2022.
Morgan said the review process “takes a long time”, adding: “We may get to a different place wholly different to where we start out.”
Earlier this week BBC director general Tony Hall announced he will step down from the role this summer after seven years at the helm.
Hall said his departure would allow for a new boss to guide the corporation through both its mid-term review and charter renewal.
The timing of the decision also means that Hall’s successor will be chosen by current chairman Sir David Clementi, rather than the future chair selected by the Prime Minister.