The British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1922, making it the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation. With it was instituted the radio licence fee. Since then, the radio licence fee has been scrapped in favour of the television licence fee, which is currently £147 per household.
The BBC’s mission statement is, “To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.” However, there is a growing sentiment in Britain that although the cost of the licence fee has been continually increasing, the quality of the BBC’s output has not necessarily followed.
This led The Freedom Association to launch its Axe the TV Tax campaign.
Tom Waters wrote a report under the name “Free the Airwaves” for the TFA, which was launched on 14th September 2011. In it, he argues that the BBC has gone beyond its legitimate remit as a public service broadcaster, offering programmes which should more appropriately be left in the domain of commercial channels. He also finds that the BBC is a biased and wasteful organisation. What’s more, it raises its money through a licence fee which is essentially an unfair and regressive poll tax.
As a result, we call for a root-and-branch change in the structure of public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, to make it appropriate for the 21stcentury.
We also published a report ‘Free the Airwaves – The three main reasons why the television licence fee should be scrapped’ in April 2014. This report highlights how technology is rendering the licence fee redundant and how the BBC would be better off without it.
The Freedom Association has also held several events on the issue of public broadcasting, including a panel discussion both at the UKIP and Conservative Party conference Freedom Zones; the main conference hall at UKIP's 2015 conference in Doncaster; and during our Freedom Festivals in Bournemouth.