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Should the BBC license be mandatory?

Introduced in 1923, more than 25 million UK TV owners pay the annual license fee that fund the BBC’s television and radio operations. Non-payment is considered a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine. As other European nations move away from mandatory license fees, should the UK government follow suit?

No, the license should not be mandatory

The BBC license fee surmounts to a regressive tax that disproportionately affects poor households, for a service that not everyone makes use of.

The BBC Trust cannot be trusted

The BBC Trust, which receives the license fees, has proven it cannot be trusted with the responsibility. Explore

The license fee disproportionately affects poor households

The BBC television license is a regressive tax on poor households. Explore

The TV license is unpopular

The public does not like the mandatory license fee that goes to the BBC. Explore

The mandatory license stifles innovation

Market failures drive innovation. The BBC is protected from market failures by a mandatory license. Explore

The license fee is impossible to enforce

A mandatory fee is only useful if everybody actually pays it. There is no legal and practical way to enforce the license fee, so it’s up to choice whether people pay it or not. Therefore, it's pointless to make a license fee mandatory. Explore

The BBC doesn’t account for the majority of TV

With more channels and new ways of watching tv flooding the market, the BBC is no longer the main provider of television content. Yet the rising license fee forces all Britons to pay more into a system that they use the least. Explore

Linear TV is dead

The mandatory license is modelled on a user model that is outdated. Explore

Yes, the BBC license should be mandatory

The BBC provides a non-excludable service of public good and could only function in its current form through a mandatory license fee.

A mandatory license fee supports minority tastes

Without a mandatory license fee, the BBC would be unable to produce programs that appeal to niche interests and ethnic and religious minorities. Explore

The BBC provides a service for the public good

The BBC provides a unique service that can be consumed by everyone equally. Explore

The BBC World Service serves the national interest

The World Service presents Britain's face to the world, and is a major tool of the UK's Soft Power. Explore

BBC News is an essential public service

We pay for the police and fire brigade; like them, a national news service is an essential service. Explore
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 19:42 UTC