TV licence fee should be scrapped in place of BBC subscription model, says MP

Tom Hunt

Hundreds of East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star readers voted in our poll on the topic, over 70% of people were in favour of the government scrapping the BBC licence fee. - Credit: PA/Tom Hunt

Suffolk MPs have weighed in on the TV licence fee debate, after it was confirmed the fee will be frozen for two years.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said she could not justify families having to pay more.

The current price for the licence fee, which you need if you watch live television, is £159 and will remain so until April 2024.

The licence fee funding model will also be reviewed.

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Tom Hunt said he doesn't think his constituents should be forced by law to pay for the BBC licence fee in order to watch television - Credit: House of Commons

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt is firmly against the TV licence fee. He said: "I'm pleased by the news that the amount of money my constituents pay for the BBC licence fee has been frozen for the next two years.

"It would be better in my view if the BBC moved to a subscription-based model post 2027. If you want to watch it great, you can pay the subscription, if you take the decision not to watch the BBC you shouldn't be forced to pay for it."

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, says he can see the argument on both sides of the TV licence fee debate, especially in an age of multiple channels and online streaming, but maintains there is a place for the BBC as an impartial public service broadcaster.

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"In particular, we all value BBC Radio Suffolk and I would be reluctant to see an important and well-loved source of local news lost as a result of any changes to the licence fee," Dr Poulter said.

He added the corporation needed to more keenly represent views and interests of people from Suffolk and in other non-metropolitan parts of the country, and that he would be scrutinising the proposals as they emerge.

Kevin Burch

Kevin Burch worked for the BBC for more than three decades and says the TV licence is good value for money, but understands people who don't use it won't share his opinion - Credit: Kevin Burch

Freelance video journalist from Ipswich Kevin Burch left the BBC in March after more than 30 years working for the broadcaster, and he thinks the licence fee is good value for money and should remain in place until other funding models have been studied.

"Whether it’s subscription or a broadband levy, they all have limitations," Mr Burch said. "The licence fee is unquestionably good value for money if you access a mix of services, but I can see why it’s opposed by people who don’t."

On the topic on representing views he added: "I think alarm bells would have rung a lot earlier if the BBC hadn't been serving that regional audience.

"There have been mistakes, it's invariably a cock-up it's not a conspiracy, but there's always work to do on impartiality."

Nadine Dorries is Conservative's parlimentary candidate for Mid Bedfordshire. Picture courtesy of Na

Nadine Dorries has been promoted in the cabinet reshuffle - Credit: courtesy of Nadine Dorries