Outlook: Leave Auntie just as she is
Tuesday 17 March 1998
All the same, it is not clear that making the BBC into an institution mutually owned by licence fee payers - as suggested in a new booklet by the Institute for Public Policy Research, a left leaning think tank - would solve the problem. There would be some potential advantages, obviously. Removing the BBC from public ownership would allow the BBC to raise debt without affecting the level of public sector borrowing or going the whole hog of privatisation, though for what purpose the IPPR doesn't say. And mutual ownership might make licence-fee payers feel more attached to the BBC as well as making the BBC more answerable to its viewers.
But in the end the proposal suffers from a fundamental flaw - you cannot privatise a tax without allowing people the right to opt out of it. The virtue of the present licence fee system - which is unique to Britain - is its attributes as a flat rate tax, affordable to all, capable of funding a basic level of quality, public service broadcasting. The moment the BBC is removed from the public sector, a sizeable minority, possibly swelling over time to a majority, is going to start wondering why they should be paying a licence fee at all when they spend their lives watching Sky, down the gym or loitering on street corners.
Furthermore, it is questionable that we actually want the BBC independently tapping the capital markets for extra sources of income. The BBC is already a monopoly broadcaster in the UK with nearly a half of the total TV and radio market. That's enough for any organisation, even one producing such lasting monuments of our age as Teletubbies and Eastenders. Nothing would be gained by attempting to make it more dominant still. The BBC is perfectly all right as it is, thanks very much.
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Three-year-old boy accidentally shoots dead his mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as she changes her younger daughter's nappy
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...
£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...