ITV May Get License Fee

17th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

The BBC reports that under proposals in the British government’s Digital Britain report there are plans to divert 3.5% of the television license fee to ITV and other public service broadcasters from 2013.

The BBC Trust has come out against the government’s proposals, saying removing part of the licence fee would “damage BBC output”.

Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said it “must not become a slush fund to be dipped into at will”.

“This would lead to the licence fee being seen as another form of general taxation. The trust will not sit quietly by and watch this happen,” he added.

Lord Carter, author of the Digital Britain report, said that a proposed merger between BBC Worldwide – the corporation’s commercial arm – and Channel 4 would not be “a forced marriage”, but that the government “would be ready to facilitate it”.

Referring to a consultation, he said the government would not be “running a referendum on it” but would take the views of licence fee payers into account.

Channel 4’s chief executive Andy Duncan welcomed the report, saying it “offers crystal clear acknowledgement of Channel 4’s vital role in ensuring public service competition to the BBC”.

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