UK government will cut BBC funding, says newspaper

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BBC Headquarters in London, UK

by William James

LONDON (Reuters) – The UK government will cut funding to the BBC by ordering a two-year moratorium on the rate people pay to watch the broadcaster, the Mail reported on Sunday.

The future of the British Broadcasting Corporation is an ongoing subject of political debate, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government recently suggesting that its funding needs reform.

With 6% or more expected to peak in 30 years in April, crediting the cost of licenses to their current £159 ($217.40) would offer some relief to consumers battling a sharp rise in cost of living.

But it would also be a major blow to the finances of the BBC, which is trying to compete with privately funded news outlets and services like Netflix and other streaming entertainment funded by consumer subscriptions.

When asked about the Mail on Sunday’s report, the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport declined to comment.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the license fee deal would be the last such deal and tweeted a link to the mail on Sunday’s article.

“Now is the time to discuss and debate new ways to finance, support and sell great British content,” he said on Twitter.

The BBC declined to comment on Dorris’ tweet or the Mail on Sunday’s report. The opposition Labor Party said the funding cuts were politically motivated.

“The prime minister and the culture secretary are determined to attack this great British institution because they don’t like its journalism,” said Labor MP and head of cultural policy, Lucy Powell.

BBC news production is regularly criticized by political parties in the UK. His coverage of Brexit issues – central to the Johnson administration – has long been seen as highly critical by advocates of leaving the EU.

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