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Ipswich MP calls for BBC licence fee to be scrapped

PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 30 August 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt is backing calls for the BBC licence fee to be abolished. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt is backing calls for the BBC licence fee to be abolished. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has called for the BBC licence fee to be abolished - and for the corporation to lose its role as the UK’s national broadcaster.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has heavily criticised the BBC. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA WireIpswich MP Tom Hunt has heavily criticised the BBC. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The Conservative, elected to parliament in the 2019 general election, made his decision following an online poll on his website.

Out of nearly 5,000 responses, 97% wanted the licence fee abolished. Nearly 900 people with postcodes in his constituency took part – and 90% of them wanted the licence fee abolished.

However, a BBC spokesman said the licence fee remains the most popular way of funding the corporation.

Mr Hunt said he has had concerns about the BBC for some time, but that he had felt the corporation deserved the benefit of the doubt if it upset both sides in politics.

The Last Night of the Proms has been the subject of the latest BBC row. Picture: Chris Christodoulou/BBC/PA WireThe Last Night of the Proms has been the subject of the latest BBC row. Picture: Chris Christodoulou/BBC/PA Wire

However, recent concerns about the BBC’s political coverage, the removal of some old comedy shows from the iPlayer because of concerns about their content and a row about the Last Night of the Proms persuaded him that time was up for the BBC.

The BBC has come under fire for not having anyone singing Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory during this year’s concerts the Royal Albert Hall, where there will be no audience because of Covid restrictions.

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He said: “I don’t watch the BBC any more and I think it is out of touch with the majority of people in Britain.

“I ran the poll, and while I know it is not scientific the results are very clear.

“I don’t think the licence fee can be sustained. I don’t believe the BBC as it is today should be the national broadcaster.”

Mr Hunt did not know what should happen to popular BBC programmes like EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing and Casualty – but did think other broadcasters might take them on.

He also felt the government would have to find a new way of ensuring national events were covered.

However, he stressed: “I have no problems with the local television or with Radio Suffolk, but the BBC is imposing cuts on those services and is reducing local its local output.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Our analysis of public opinion shows that the licence fee is the most popular way to fund the BBC. Long term polling shows 41% of the public pick the licence fee as the best way to fund the BBC, above advertising (30%) and subscription (26%).

“The licence fee ensures the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, committed to serving everyone – not the interests of advertisers or shareholders – and to investing in British creativity.”


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