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Minister: Government ‘open-minded’ on BBC funding

June 8, 2022

By Colin Mann

Julia Lopez, Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, has suggested that the UK government is ‘genuinely open-minded’ about the future of the BBC funding model.

Appearing before the Communications and Digital Committee of the House of Lords – the UK’s upper legislative chamber – as part of its inquiry into funding the broadcaster, she said: “The Government is genuinely open-minded about the right model and we are seeking for somebody to surface the choices open to any government about the right way of funding the BBC and we are doing that in advancement of 2027 so that when we look at what we seek the BBC to achieve post-2027 we have a sense of how the best way of funding that will be.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced earlier in 2022 that the Corporation’s licence fee would be frozen for the next two years, suggesting that she wants to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027.

She noted that the licence fee is challenged by the technological revolution, suggesting that is “regressive” that you pay the same regardless of your circumstances. “There is an open question as to whether it can and maybe Government decides it can’t and while the Secretary of State has made clear her own position having serious concerns about the licence fee, she also said she is open-minded to what the right model is and if the review comes back and suggests that these are the pros and cons of other models and on balance the licence fee is better, I don’t think she would entirely dismiss that.”

Lopez revealed that the Government is expecting to choose an independent reviewer to undertake a review of the BBC’s funding model before the [lower chamber] House of Commons summer recess.

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