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BBC Veteran Says 'Frightened' Beeb 'Cherry Picks' Licence Fee Evidence

BBC Veteran Says 'Frightened' Beeb 'Cherry Picks' Licence Fee Evidence

The BBC “cherry picks” evidence and is “too frightened” to think of a way of raising revenue outside of the licence fee, a veteran broadcaster and journalist told today’s BBC Daily Politics.

Nick Ross, who has worked with the BBC for many years, said that the BBC’s polls and evidence were biased by people who were too afraid to think of the BBC operating on a voluntary subscription model, rather than the forcible payment system that is the existing TV licence fee.

He told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme: “Risk aversion is driving the BBC into a dead end… Replacing this poll tax with subscription would liberate the BBC.

“I have worked for the BBC for a long time. I have no vested interests. I have always been freelance. 

“If we were honest, said Ross, “my view is we could get more revenue freely without sending people to prison or court because they do not pay their licence fee.”

BBC presenter Jo Coburn challenged Ross’s claims. She said: “The BBC is convinced it would lose money on the evidence and the polls they have done, people would not pay if they were not forced to”.

But Ross, best known for presenting the BBC’s Crimewatch programme, maintains that there is a bias in favour of the licence fee from within the BBC.

“The people commissioning this research will cling to the licence fee. They are cherry-picking evidence which sustains their own view,” he said.

“I understand where they are coming from. They are frightened and timid and they do not want the BBC to be challenged. 

“The uptake will be enormous, if the BBC does good programming. That is what this is about.”

Last month it was announced that avoiding the payment of the BBC licence fee – a tax on every TV-owning household in Britain – could be decriminalised after the next general election following plans to tone down language in current legislation.

The BBC licence fee costs £145.50 per year for a TV-owner in the United Kingdom, the proceeds of which are spent on BBC television, radio and online offerings. Around four percent of the licence fee revenue is spent on collection and enforcement of the licence fee itself. 

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