BBC facing backlash after bosses announce £14.5million studio move while hiking licence fee by £10 a year
- Bosses have put out a tender for the works to set up a facility in Stratford
The BBC is facing backlash over plans to spend £14.5million on a new studio after it was revealed that the TV licence fee would increase by £10 a year.
Bosses at the broadcaster are looking to set up a facility in Stratford, east London, and have now put out a tender for the proposed works, which are expected to cost millions in taxpayer’s money.
It is set to comprise two studios, ‘visualisation rooms’, workshops and other spaces such as a green room, according to The Sun.
The new studio will replace the BBC’s facility in Maida Vale, which is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ and was sold to Hans Zimmer earlier this year for just £10.5million.
It comes after Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer revealed on Thursday that the BBC licence fee will rise from £159 to £169.50 next year.
The BBC is facing backlash over plans to spend £14.5million on a new studio in Stratford. Pictured: Plans for the new BBC facility in Stratford
The new studio will improve on the BBC’s current facility in Maida Vale, which is said to be ‘no longer fit for purpose’. Pictured: Adele performing at the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in 2011
It comes after Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer revealed on Thursday that the BBC licence fee will rise from £159 to £169.50 next year. Pictured:
Joe Ventre, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told The Sun: ‘Licence fee payers will be stunned by the Beeb’s grand plans.
READ MORE: BBC licence fee will rise from £159 to £169.50 next year as Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer announces review into the funding model
‘If the BBC wants to fund swish new offices, it should scrap the hated TV tax and let people choose whether to pay.’
The licence fee charge, which funds much of the BBC’s operations, had been set to rise by 9 per cent – the average consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation last year.
The 6.7 per cent increase has been calculated using September’s lower rate of inflation and is equivalent to 88p a month.
Ms Frazer suggested the BBC licence fee could be replaced by an alternative funding model, although such an outcome would depend on the review and a public consultation and would be part of the charter review process.
The corporation is already planning £500million of savings in the face of high inflation and the licence fee freeze, and said today that the lower than expected increase would ‘require further changes’.
Bosses have already announced major changes to programmes, with flagship BBC2 current affairs show Newsnight shedding its team of investigative reporters and having its viewing time cut to 30 minutes.
Rishi Sunak had previously said the BBC needs to be ‘realistic’ about what people can pay ‘at a time like this’ and bosses should be looking to ‘cut its cloth appropriately’.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer announced the rise to the licence fee in the Commons
Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Ms Frazer said a review would look at how the corporation could increase its commercial revenue to reduce the ‘burden’ on households.
‘Given pressure on household incomes, I can explicitly rule out that this review will look at creating any new taxes,’ she said.
‘The findings of the review will support the Government to make an informed choice on whether to consult the public on moving to alternative funding models.
‘This would take place as part of the charter review process, where any final decision on reforming the BBC’s funding model would be taken.’
She also said that the Government is supporting the BBC to ‘realise commercial opportunities which will make it more financially sustainable and we’ll continue to explore these provisionally’ with the corporation.
Ms Frazer added: ‘This situation clearly shows the need to consider the BBC’s funding arrangements to make sure they are fair for the public and sustainable for the BBC.’
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