Household tax could replace TV Licence suggests top BBC boss as he prepares to step down

THE TV Licence fee could be replaced by a household tax, the BBC's top boss has suggested as he prepares to step down.

BBC director-general Tony Hall, who steps down tomorrow, said the tax could be compulsory that requires richer people to pay more.

In his exit interview with The Media Show on Radio 4, the boss said that progressive alternatives to the TV licence were “interesting” and “should be looked at”.

He suggested the fee could be an extra charge on existing household bills such as council tax, meaning the BBC wouldn't have to spend time tracking down evaders.

The licence fee is currently guaranteed until 2027, but the government has indicated that a new funding system will be required then.

In February, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said the government was determined to bring the BBC back into the 21st century by looking at decriminalising licence fees and scrapping them altogether.

How to watch TV legally without paying for a licence

THE following services are still openly (and legally) available to you – as long as you aren’t using them to watch or stream live TV:

  • On demand TV – such as catch-up TV and on demand previews, which are available through services including ITV Player, All 4, My5, BT Vision/BT TV, Virgin Media, Sky Go, Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. You can't watch or download programmes on BBC iPlayer without a TV licence.
  • On demand movies – from services such as Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
  • Recorded films and programmes – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet.
  • YouTube – Video clips that aren't live through services such as YouTube.

In the interviw, Mr Hall agreed that Germany's household tax, which all homes must pay even if they don't own a TV, radio or smartphone, might make more sense than the TV licence.

He said: "I think finding ways in which the licence fee can be charged progressively so those who can afford to pay more and those who can’t afford to pay less, should be looked at."

"Should it be collected in a way on household bills, council tax bills, to cut down the cost?

"We’ve got until 2027 to work out a fair way of funding the BBC and what is an appropriate way of funding the BBC."

Senior aides to No10 earlier this year called for the TV Licence to be scrapped and replaced with a subscription service, according to reports.

But Mr Hall said he was opposed to any funding model that undermined the principle of universality.

He added: If you want to have something good, a public service available to all, then that has to be funded by all, not by subscription or behind some paywall."

Tim Davie, a former head of BBC Studios, the commercial arm, takes over as director-general after Mr Hill.

The Sun has contacted the Treasury and HMRC for comment.

The BBC also declined to comment.

All OAPs have been urged to cancel the BBC licence fee direct debits as over-75s were recently sent letters demanding £157.50.

It came after the BBC scrapped free licences for elderly – a move that has been slammed by campaigners and politicians with Boris Johnson saying the Beeb made the “wrong decision”.

Free licences will continue to be offered to over-75s on pension credit – which includes those on a weekly income below £173.75 and couples on less than £265.20.

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