BBC bosses have pledged to “continue to make a strong case to the Government for investing” in the corporation after the licence fee came under fire.
In a message sent to staff, director-general Tim Davie and chairman Richard Sharp said they “welcomed” debate and “look forward to engaging in a discussion about public service broadcasting in the UK and how best to fund it”.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said at the weekend the next announcement about the BBC licence fee “will be the last”, saying she wants to find a new funding model for the broadcaster after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.
She will give a statement on the BBC to MPs on Monday afternoon.
In their internal message, Mr Davie and Mr Sharp reminded staff the licence fee is “fixed” until the end of 2027 but said what happens after that “is a matter for public discussion and debate”.
They continued: “At the moment the discussions about the future level of the licence fee for the rest of this Charter period are still ongoing, although we do expect them to conclude very soon.
“We will continue to make a strong case to the Government for investing in the BBC.
“There are very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public, the UK creative industries, and the place of the UK in the world.
“This is the case that we’ll continue to make to the Government right until the last moment.”
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However, the pair said “it is for the Government to set the licence fee at the level that they believe is appropriate”.
They added: “As soon as we have more information we will let you know. In the meantime, thank you for your continued hard work, commitment and creativity.”
Ms Dorries is expected to announce later this week that the licence fee will be kept at the current rate of £159 until April 2024, various reports said.
The annual BBC licence payment normally changes on April 1 each year and is set by the Government, which announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 1 2017. It is reported to be worth around £3.2 billion to the BBC.
Funny that you yourself said in Parliament a few days ago “The BBC confirmed recently that no enforcement action has been taken against anyone over 75 years of age”