Letter: Licence fee future

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report "Licence fee `on the way out' " (6 December) reflected a misunderstanding of the replies given to the National Heritage Select Committee by the BBC Chairman, Sir Christopher Bland. It suggested that Sir Christopher accepted the prospect that the licence fee might no longer exist "in as little as five years' time".

The Government has guaranteed the licence fee for that long. No one can speak with absolute certainty beyond that, but Sir Christopher made it clear that the licence-fee system of funding the BBC had worked for more than 75 years and he believed there was broad support for it. He went on to say that he had no doubt that if the country and Parliament wanted a licence-fee-funded BBC, even in 20 years' time, we would have it.

It is up to the BBC to make the case for the licence fee through the quality of its programmes and the range of its services, and we will continue to do so. It would be a sad day when Britain gave up the benefit of the services available to all through the universal licence fee.


Director of Corporate Affairs, BBC

London W1