Culture Secretary’s reckless comments on BBC licence fee are a political smokescreen 

4 December 2023

Responding to comments from Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer this morning regarding curbing the planned increase to the BBC licence fee following a two-year freeze, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: 

“The Culture Secretary’s reckless comments serve as a smokescreen for a government that has presided over this cost-of-living crisis, rampant inflation, rocketing fuel bills, mortgage increases and a record post-war tax burden. It is now targeting the nation’s broadcaster, the catalyst for economic power in the creative industries, and the most influential brand for soft power on the global stage for political expediency as it grapples with these pressing issues. 

“Saving households £1.25 a month won’t lift struggling Britons out of the cost-of-living crisis. If the government wants to get real about supporting UK households, the recent Autumn Statement would have been a brilliant opportunity to do just that. 

“This is political point scoring at its worst. All year, following further cuts and reductions in BBC services, we have seen politicians decry the loss of local TV, radio and other services when it suits them; these are the same politicians whose government has necessitated these cuts via freezing the licence fee for two years. 

“Retreating from government promises to ensure proper funding for the BBC is not the way forward. Yet again it is hardworking Bectu members and other BBC workers who will pay the price, and UK audiences who will suffer from a reduced BBC. Our message is clear – politicians must not complain about losing important services if they are not prepared to stand up and support proper funding for the BBC.” 

Defending our public service broadcasters  

The choices the BBC makes is determined by the funding available and reinforces the need for a robust BBC funding model going forward.  

Find out more about Bectu’s ‘Licence to More’ campaign here.