04 February 2020
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed the consultation on decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC licence fee. He said however that it must also be the start of a wider discussion on how the BBC is funded.
DUP Parliamentary Spokesman on Education, Treasury and the Department of Work & Pensions.
Commenting he said, “The Culture Secretary’s consultation is long overdue. The idea that someone should face a criminal record because they don’t want to watch the BBC is anachronistic and cannot survive any serious public scrutiny. However, moving this issue from a criminal to a civil matter will not fully resolve this issue either.
It makes no sense that the BBC would continue to be funded through a model largely unchanged since 1946. The media landscape in 2020 is completely unrecognisable to that which has existed for the majority of the licence fee’s existence, and there must be a wider discussion about its future. With streaming and on-demand services now part of everyday life there can be little justification for the kind of blanket TV-tax which is the licence fee.
Along with my colleague Gregory Campbell we will be seeking to discuss these issues further with both the DCMS and the BBC. I hope that we will be able to have those discussions quickly and that a more suitable and sustainable funding model for the BBC can emerge.”