BBC licence charge panic as determined bosses search for big cuts ‘the scale of a complete channel’ | UK | News | EUROtoday

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Insiders declare the BBC must make cuts equal to the whole thing of BBC Two as bosses reel from a lower-than-hoped-for licence charge enhance.

Sources say exhibits resembling Strictly Come Dancing and David Attenborough’s wildlife sequence might be amongst these having to be in the reduction of to plug the £400million funding gap. The Government introduced earlier this week that the £159 licence charge would enhance by £10.50 – an increase of slightly below 6.7 p.c.

The Government mentioned the decreased rise would nonetheless give the BBC a yearly earnings of greater than £3.8billion. But insiders advised the outlet the decreased earnings, following a two-year freeze and a 30 p.c real-terms reduce in licence funding over a decade, would doubtless end in “painful cuts”.

One supply mentioned: “The shortfall is comparable to BBC Two’s programming budget (£340m last year). You would even have to look at the case for closing BBC Two in a digital world where people watch through iPlayer and channels are less important.”

The broadcaster has already in the reduction of Newsnight, and is now displaying 1,000 fewer hours of reports programmes. Insiders warned that exhibits now slated to be on the receiving finish of cuts had been ones folks “really care about”, together with costly wildlife programmes and Strictly.

Philippa Childs, head of broadcasting union Bectu, added that the impression on the “entire ecosystem of the creative sector will be significant.”

The BBC had anticipated an increase within the licence charge equal to inflation throughout the entire 12 months – totalling 9 p.c, or about £15 – following an settlement with the federal government final 12 months.

In a strongly-worded assertion, the broadcaster mentioned the below-inflation enhance would “require further changes on top of the major savings that we are already delivering”.

It added: “Our content budgets are now impacted, which in turn will have a significant impact on the wider creative sector across the UK. We will confirm the consequences of this as we work through our budgets in the coming months.”

The licence charge will likely be in place till not less than 2027, underneath the phrases of the BBC constitution. If any vital adjustments are made they’ll come after the subsequent common election.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer wrote within the Daily Mail: “I recognise that a £10.50 increase will be felt by households. The number of licence fee payers is declining, with an increasingly competitive media landscape. We need to make sure that the cost of the BBC does not rise exponentially, nor that it is borne by a smaller number of licence fee payers.

“And it’s our job to suppose past tomorrow. We know that if we wish the BBC to succeed, we can’t freeze its earnings. But on the identical time, we can’t ask households to pay extra to help the BBC indefinitely.”

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “We know that household budgets are stretched and that’s why the Government has stepped in. We’ve performed that following two years of licence charge freezes and we’ve acted to minimise this 12 months’s enhance to lower than £1 per 30 days.”