BBC under 'existential' threat after losing 250,000 TV licences equalling estimated £38m
Defund the BBC's Liam Deacon has accused the BBC of being "arrogant" for not looking into any matters before it affected the broadcaster. The BBC Television Licence Trust released its annual report which showed that the number of licence fees sold by the end of March was down by 256,000. The TV licences, which cost £150.50 in 2019, would have equalled £38.2 million. Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Deacon said: "The rate that it's going down is quite extraordinary.
"It's 250,000 fewer people paid a licence fee last year.
"If that carries on at that rate, this is really existential.
"The fact of the matter is the BBC should have taken these questions very, very seriously a long time ago and they obviously didn't. I think that was to do with arrogance."
It comes as the Government confirmed it is not going ahead with plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee but will keep the issue under "active consideration", it has said.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said switching to a civil enforcement system risked being seen as an "invitation" to evade the fee and could ultimately reward those who declined to pay.
But he said the Government remained concerned that a criminal sanction was "disproportionate and unfair" in the current public service broadcasting landscape.
The Government launched an eight-week consultation in February last year, and it closed after receiving 154,478 responses from individuals, campaign organisations and other stakeholders.
Taken together, the majority of all of the responses which gave an opinion were opposed to decriminalisation.
Responses from individuals were split with 17,652 for decriminalisation and 19,199 against.
From campaign groups, there were 18,869 for and 92,831 against.
Of stakeholders, 21 were for decriminalisation and 45 against, while 15 offered no overall view.
The issue will be revisited as part of licence fee negotiations between 2022 and 2027, when the BBC's royal charter expires.
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