Licence fee announcement: Culture Secretary ignores the reality of how the reduced rise will hit BBC services, jobs and the creative industries

7 December 2023

Responding to today’s licence fee announcement from the Culture Secretary, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: 

“The Culture Secretary’s announcement today contained lots of warm words regarding supporting Britons through the cost-of-living crisis, yet was very light on the reality of how the reduced licence fee rise will hit the nation’s broadcaster, its services and the jobs it supports.  

“The two-year freeze has already had an incredibly damaging impact, necessitating huge cuts to services and hitting jobs and livelihoods. This announcement has cost the BBC £90m and the government is now maintaining that less than 10p a week will insulate households from the soaring cost of living. 

“Its failure to honour the planned 9% increase will mean more cuts for the BBC as it seeks to adapt to a changing media landscape. Bectu members and other BBC workers will be hit hard, and we will continue to see a reduced BBC, from which we all suffer. All this to save households 33 pence a month. 

“We welcome the Culture Secretary’s insistence that a review of the BBC’s funding model will look to ensure a sustainable model that supports the BBC long term. However, she was scant on details; we need clarification on who will be involved in this review and that it will consider the corporation’s public service remit alongside commercial aspects.  

“The BBC plays a fundamental role in growing our creative industries. Today’s announcement won’t just impact BBC staff, the knock-on effect on freelancers and the entire ecosystem of the creative sector will be significant. The government is vocal on how much the sector contributes to the economy, yet is not prepared to ensure proper funding. 

“Targeting the most influential brand for soft power on the global stage in the name of granting households negligible savings is not the vision and leadership we need to properly support struggling households, shore up the future of the BBC, and protect our thriving creative industries.” 

BBC Broadcasting House

Bectu and the BBC

The biggest union in the BBC