BBC lobbying for licence fee hike

The BBC will push for an inflation-based increase in its annual licence fee, according to UK press reports.

The UK public broadcaster’s licence fee is currently frozen at £145.50 (US$242.42). A weekend report in The Sunday Times suggested that following an internal review the BBC could push for a subscription-based service from 2020.

The broadcaster flatly denied the report and said the internal review recommends an inflation-based annual price increase alongside a greater contribution from commercial division BBC Worldwide.

The BBC Charter details the amount at which the licence fee is set and will next be renewed in late 2016. The current license fee freeze will remain in place until then.

In related news, UK culture secretary Maria Miller has said that the legal status of non-payment of the licence fee should be reviewed as part of the Charter negotiations. It is currently a criminal offence to not pay the annual fee and Miller wants a debate as to whether it should become a civil offence.

Over 100 of people were jailed between January 2011 and March 2013 for non-payment according to the Huffington Post, which lodged a freedom of information request to obtain the statistics.