The UK’s BBC is facing further doubts over its future after reports emerged that the British government had drafted a ‘blueprint’ to scrap the licence fee and downsize the organisation.
According to a report in The Sunday Times yesterday, government officials want to drastically alter the makeup of the broadcaster through the licence fee change and downsizing its other assets.
Citing senior aides to the prime minister, the paper said that officials are “not bluffing” and that they want to reduce the reach of the pubcaster into British homes.
The government has in recent weeks launched a review into decriminilising non-payment of the licence fee along with a public consultation, however this new report suggests that visions of how a new-look broadcaster might look are well underway.
Details of the new plan, reported by the newspaper, include:
According to one source quoted by the paper: “[The BBC] should have a few TV stations, a couple of radio stations and massively curtailed online presence and put more money and effort into the World Service, which is part of its core job. The PM is firmly of the view that there needs to be serious reform. He is really strident on this.”
Speaking last week, BBC chairman David Clementi said that while he is “always glad to debate the future and listen to those who hold strong views,” suggestions of a subscription model would not be to the benefit of the broadcaster.
“A subscription service would be unlikely to have much regional presence,” he said.
“It would be very unlikely to continue the level of properly curated programmes for children, or indeed the brilliant Bitesize education services that have helped so many teenagers. It would not have the same commitment to investing in home-grown ideas and talent, to the benefit of our whole creative sector.”