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Government starts discussions with BBC over licence fee cost

Government starts discussions with BBC over licence fee cost
© Reuters
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden opens discussions with the BBC over its licence fee settlement from 2022 to 2027.

The government has begun discussions with the BBC over its new funding settlement via the licence fee.

The corporation is guaranteed to be funded by the licence fee until 2027 - although by exactly how much remains up in the air.

The current agreement, signed in 2015, runs until April 2022 and has seen the cost of an annual licence - currently £157.50 - rise in line with inflation.

As part of that deal, however, the BBC agreed with the government that it would take on the responsibility of free TV licences for the over-75s by June 2020, and as the deadline approached, the BBC revealed that it planned to start charging some of the over-75s for a licence.

In order to determine the new funding settlement for 2022-27, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has written to the BBC asking it to outline its financial needs over the period.

"Public service broadcasting is woven into the cultural fabric of the UK, but to remain relevant and meet people's needs in the digital age it must evolve," he said.

"We are today taking a step forward in our roadmap for reform of the BBC and beginning negotiations to agree the cost of a TV licence from 2022 so that it offers fee payers the best value for money."

Separately, the government has set up an independent panel of experts from the broadcasting industry to advise on what the overall future of PSB in the UK - including the BBC - should look like in the decades ahead.

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