I am most grateful to David Perry QC for producing a very thorough analysis of the practicalities and consequences of decriminalisation. This is an issue which we will wish to consider carefully as part of the Charter Review and this report will be an important contribution to that.The culture secretary pointed out the last time the BBC did a charter renewal, technology was in its infancy, and that it now faces unprecedented change. The rise of the internet and streaming services means the principle of "universality" should be questioned.
The licence fee is also regressive, as it is levied at a flat rate, Whittingdale said. While subscription could work in the long term, three options could work now:
We must at least question whether the BBC should try to be all things to all people.
- A reformed licence fee
- A household levy
- A hybrid fee
As the Director-General said on Tuesday, the BBC is not owned by its staff or by politicians, it is owned by the public. They are our shareholders. They pay the licence fee. Their voice should be heard the loudest.