The BBC has been urged to abolish the TV licence fee as the broadcaster "fails to offer unbiased news coverage", a political leader has claimed.

Leader of the SDP William Clouston said the BBC's TV licence fee charge is "complete anachronism".

He said the broadcaster should monetise past programmes and cut its "bloated" company.

Mr Clouston went on to claim the BBC is failing to offer unbiased news coverage.

News Shopper: William Clouston speaking to Calvin Robinson (right) from Defund the BBC William Clouston speaking to Calvin Robinson (right) from Defund the BBC

Speaking to Calvin Robinson from Defund the BBC, Mr Clouston said: "The first line is to get rid of the licence fee which I think is a complete anachronism.

"There's no need to charge people a flat tax for this service.

"We need to get rid of that. The BBC can, will and should be funded by Government directly, I think, and also by making more of its own subscriptions.

"They can monetise past programmes. Broadly the BBC is vastly bloated and it needs slimming down."

Mr Clouston continued: "The first thing is to abolish the licence fee.

"The issue over impartiality is the key problem. We looked into this in great detail, we think that we should have a royal commission to properly examine its bias.

"We included Channel 4 in that which is also a publicly funded broadcaster because both organisations are failing to offer what their charters say they should offer which is to be politically unbiased.

"They're obviously failing at that."

The BBC states it is "impartial, seeking to reflect the views and experiences of our audiences".


A spokeswoman told us: “The licence fee continues to ensure the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, committed to serving all audiences and investing in British creativity.

"It is the agreed method of funding until at least 2027 and any further debate on this will be for the next Charter discussions.

“Impartiality is the cornerstone of the BBC and we are by far the most trusted provider of news.”

At the moment, using a TV without a valid licence can lead to prosecution, a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000.

If a person refuses to pay the fine and where all other enforcement methods have been tried, a person can be sent to jail.

The Government is currently reviewing whether to decriminalise non payment and replace it with action by civil courts and bailiffs.

Josh O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “These talks must deliver a fairer deal for taxpayers.

“Auntie must be ordered to keep costs down to protect households from yet another painful rise in the licence fee.“

"But to guarantee the best value for money, ministers must prepare to bring the BBC’s funding model into the 21st century.

“In the long term, public service broadcasters can only compete and survive if we axe the TV tax and let the BBC stand on its own two feet.”

Earlier this year the universal right to a free TV licence ended for those over the age of 75.

Those who receive pension credits are still entitled to the benefit.

  • Research by Ipsos MORI shows that 51 per cent of news consumers name the BBC when asked to cite the one source they are most likely to turn to for impartial news coverage – up from 44 per cent in 2018/19 and far ahead of the next nearest provider (Sky News, 7 per cent).