BBC TV presenter and former footballer Gary Lineker says the BBC licence fee should become a voluntary charge.
Lineker, the highest-paid BBC presenter with earnings of £1.75 million (€2m) in 2018-19, told The Guardian that the licence fee was the broadcaster’s “fundamental problem” and in need of reform.
“You’re forced to pay it if you want a TV, and therefore it’s a tax,” he said of the £154.50 annual fee on every home watching live TV. “The public pay our salaries, so everyone is a target.”
Lineker, who presents BBC’s Match of the Day, suggested the fee – which is currently enforced through the criminal courts – should become voluntary and be charged at higher rate to subsidise elderly and poorer viewers.
“I would make the licence fee voluntary. I’ve always said for a long time, I would make it voluntary. I don’t know the logistics of how it would work,” he said. “You would lose some people, but at the same time you’d up the price a bit. It’s the price of a cup of coffee a week at the moment. If you put it up you could help older people, or those that can’t afford it.”