-> Senior source said BBC could be forced to sell off most of its radio stations
-> Said there would be consultation on replacing licence fee with subscriptions
-> Suggestion that number of BBC television channels could also be reduced
Rory Tingle – The Daily Mail Feb 16, 2020
Downing Street has signalled a new onslaught on the BBC – with a threat to scrap the television licence fee and turn it into a subscription service.
A senior source said the broadcaster could be forced to sell off most of its radio stations in a ‘massive pruning back’ of its activities.
They said there would be a consultation on replacing the licence fee with a subscription model, adding: ‘We will whack it.’
The paper said that the number of BBC television channels could also be reduced, the website scaled back and stars banned from cashing in on well-paid second jobs.
The attack will be seen as a further escalation of the hostilities between No 10 and the corporation, with many Tories still angry at its coverage of last year’s general election.
The Government is already consulting on proposals to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee, and ministers have suggested it could be abolished altogether when the BBC’s charter comes up for renewal in 2027.
It was reported that the review will be led by former culture secretary John Whittingdale, who was reappointed to his old department in last week’s reshuffle.
The Sunday Times quoted one source as saying: ‘We are not bluffing on the licence fee. We are having a consultation and we will whack it. It has got to be a subscription model.