'Fairer' BBC licence fee could be linked to council tax, Dorries says

'Fairer' BBC licence fee could be linked to council tax, Dorries says

June 21, 2022

‘Fairer’ BBC licence fee could be linked to council tax with people in lower-band properties paying less, Nadine Dorries says 

  • Licence fee is unfair as everyone pays the same regardless of income: Dorries
  • Culture Secretary mulls German model, with payments tied to property tax rate
  • Nadine Dorries will launch consultation as part of year-long review of £159 fee
  • TV veteran David Dimbleby also suggested ‘fairer’ tying of fee to council tax sum

The BBC licence fee is ‘discriminatory’ and could in future be linked to council tax bands to make the system fairer, Nadine Dorries has said.

The Culture Secretary said she was looking at a system in Germany where the amount people are charged is linked to how much property tax they pay.

She said it is unfair that everyone pays the same amount no matter what they earn, and it discriminates against women as they are most likely to be convicted for non-payment.

Mrs Dorries is about to launch a consultation as part of a year-long review into the future of the £159-a-year TV licence fee. 

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is pictured leaving Number Ten last week after Cabinet

The licence fee is set for a year-long consultation (pictured, BBC HQ New Broadcasting House)

She has signalled she intends to axe it when the current charter expires at the end of 2027.

Other alternatives are a voluntary subscription model like Netflix uses, allowing advertising, or through a general broadband levy. Mrs Dorries told LBC Radio: ‘We’re looking at a number of options. Germany doesn’t have a licence fee any more. I think if I’m [not] very much mistaken that it’s added on to people’s council tax, so those who are wealthier with higher council tax pay more.’

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has suggested tying the licence fee to the council tax rate, suggesting that would make it fairer

She added that ‘76 per cent of all criminal convictions for non-payment of the licence fee are women. That’s because women take responsibility, it’s their name on the rent book, it’s their name on the mortgage, they’re the ones who take responsibility for the kids’.

David Dimbleby suggested earlier this year that the licence fee could be linked to council tax to make it fairer.

The veteran TV presenter said the licence fee ‘should not be paid flat-rate by everybody, but the richest should pay more and the poorest less’.

He added: ‘And the simple way of doing it would be to attach an element of the licence fee to the council tax band.’

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