A new poll has found that half of Britons no longer wish to pay a TV licence fee – and that many of them feel the BBC is biased in its reporting.
A poll of 1,700 people by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 56% of respondents supported scrapping the licence fee and believed the BBC should rely instead on subscriptions according to the Daily Express. Just 19% – or less than one in five people – were opposed to scrapping the fee.
The licence fee is currently £157.50 a year, and BBC receives some £3.5 million per year from the taxpayer.
Some of the basis for public support for scrapping the fee may be found in how respondents viewed bias at the BBC. Almost half of people, 47% of those polled, said the BBC was not impartial in its news coverage in recent years, while just 28% thought the BBC had achieved impartiality.
The survey also found that 33% of those polled felt that because “The BBC is not impartial and balanced, and there is a need for another news channel to offer a different perspective.” The finding will come of interest to former BBC political presenter Andrew Neil who is leading a group seeking to launch a new television channel GB News this year.
Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies told the Daily Express that there was a strong feeling the broadcaster had failed to provide impartial coverage of Brexit. However the BBC responded by saying it was a trusted provider of news in the UK.
It was reported last year that the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was in favour of scrapping the TV licence and turning the BBC into a subscription service.
RTE, the Irish public service broadcaster, receives almost €200 million per year from the taxpayer, and the excessive pay for presenters given the loss incurred by the station each year continues to be a matter of controversy.