More than half the British public think the television licence fee should be scrapped, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) forced to find new ways to subsidise itself.
According to a poll by ComRes, 51 of the British public would support the idea of abolishing the licence fee, even if it meant programmes having advertisement breaks as they do on other channels, and a cut in the number of original programmes the corporation produces.
A third of those questioned also supported the BBC becoming a subscription service instead of issuing a compulsory licence fee.
Chris Whitehouse of Whitehouse Consultancy told the Sunday Telegraph: “There clearly isn’t solid support for the licence fee model and the public appears willing to consider alternative means of funding the BBC, as long as abolishing the licence fee doesn’t mean higher taxes instead.
“These figures show the huge job of work still be done by the BBC if it is to have a strong hand in the future in renegotiating the licence fee and justifying why the public should continue to pay it.
“The BBC is a world renowned institution of which I am a keen supporter, and it is alarming that its support-base has been allowed to erode to this low level.”
The poll comes after the BBC ruled that it no longer has to be “balanced” in reporting climate change, and should actively exclude sceptics of man-made global warming, putting them in the same category as conspiracy theorists.
The ruling follows a debate in which former Chancellor Nigel Lawson challenged the consensus on man-made global warming. The BBC concluded that it should not have held the debate because: “Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research.”
Writing for the Times, science writer and Conservative peer Matt Ridley derided the BBC’s position, saying: “The evidence from computer modelling? The phrase is an oxymoron. A model cannot, by definition, provide evidence: it can provide a prediction to test against real evidence.”
Ridley goes on to say that the BBC has only taken this position because a Green Party councillor who also “has a draught-proofing and insulation business in Dorset and also works as an environmental consultant” made an inaccurate complaint about the debate, claiming that Lord Lawson said climate change was “all a conspiracy”.
Ridley writes: “On the inaccurate word of an activist politician with a vested financial and party interest, the BBC has decided that henceforth nobody must be allowed to criticise predictions of the future on which costly policies are based.”