The BBC will receive a below-inflation increase to the licence fee, UK’s Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer, has confirmed. Under a funding agreement struck by former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, the levy is supposed to rise in line with inflation from April, and in the three years after that.
It has been frozen for the past two years amid the rising cost of living, piling pressure on the corporation’s spending power. However, on Monday morning, Lucy Frazer effectively confirmed the BBC will have to cope with a below-inflation rise amid reports Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, wants to block the hike in the annual charge.
If in line with inflation, the rise in the annual fee would be by around £15 to £173.30, but Frazer said she was concerned this would be high while the cost of living crisis is ongoing. "The licence fee will still rise, but as it rises, the BBC needs to be realistic about how much it can rise by,” she said.
“We, as a government, have been really concerned about the cost of living for people across the country, and have taken a number of steps across the board to make sure that those costs are down,” Frazer told Sky News. “The licence fee is due to rise, but we want to make sure that it rises by an appropriate amount that people can afford,” she added.
Asked about the idea of a with-inflation rise, taking the annual total to £173, Frazer said: “I am concerned that is a very high level and it is a decision that I am looking at the moment. We will be making an announcement on this very shortly.”