THE BBC has come under fire for its compulsory licence fee as the state-run broadcaster looks to bring back BBC Three in an effort to focus on younger audiences – with BBC Four airing more repeats.
Sam Packer from the TaxPayers’ Alliance raged at the licence fee system which he believes is an issue for the public. He explained the public are forced to pay for it just by having a TV whereas, other notable services such as, Netflix can be cancelled. He added it is “preposterous” for BBC to try and compete by bringing back BBC Three.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Packer said: “This move to reintroduce BBC in a desperate attempt to claw back the youth audience reflects the problems of the licence fee system.
“The BBC, a corporation funded entirely by a compulsory tax that everyone in the country has to pay just for having this debate is always going to lead to this kind of debate.
“BBC content ceases to be private or a corporation issue but becomes an issue for every single one of us because we have to pay for it.
“Unlike other channels we can switch off, for instance Netflix and not pay them if we don’t want to watch them, with the BBC we always have to pay it.
“It seems preposterous that the BBC are bringing back Three purely for the basis on competition.
“Why do we have a state-owned broadcaster trying to undermine the rest of the market?”
In its annual plan, the BBC also said flagship channel BBC One will invest in “more British programmes targeted at younger audiences”.
The corporation has denied it plans to axe BBC Four but suggested the high-brow channel could air fewer original programmes.
It said: “BBC Four will increase focus on bringing together collections of the most distinctive content from the BBC’s rich archive.
“Arts will continue to be a centrepiece of Four.”
BBC Four intends to broadcast at least 60 hours of factual originated programmes, a target it has previously surpassed.
The BBC faces an estimated £125 million of lost income this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
It has been hit by the decision to delay introducing the over-75s licence fee reform and damage to commercial operations because of the fall in the advertising market and halting of productions, it says.
The end of the licence fee has been mooted by the Government, with a threat to turn the BBC into a subscription service.
BBC bosses will be hoping that its reach during the pandemic and efforts to provide education for school children will have turned the tide in the Government.
BBC director general Lord Hall and chairman Sir David Clementi said they had been “touched and humbled by the way people have put their trust in the BBC in huge numbers.