Nicky Morgan open to replacing BBC licence fee with Netflix-style subscription

The culture secretary has said she is “open-minded” about scrapping the fee in favour of a new format

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 22:  People walk near the entrance to  BBC Broadcasting House on October 22, 2012 in London, England. A BBC1 'Panorama' documentary to be broadcast later tonight contains new allegations about the handling by BBC2 programme 'Newsnight' concerning claims of sexual abuse allegedly carried out by fomer BBC television presenter, Jimmy Savile, the transmission of which was subsequently dropped. Police have confirmed that Sir Jimmy Savile, the BBC presenter and DJ who died in October 2011 aged 84, may have sexually abused young girls on BBC premises.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The BBC licence fee may be set to change, with culture secretary Nicky Morgan saying she is open to considering alternative options for the broadcaster.


The cabinet minister made the comments following a select committee hearing, in which the Conservative MP for Solihull Julian Knight asked her to consider ditching the licence fee, with a Netflix-style subscription service as a policy for an upcoming election manifesto.

“I’m open-minded and I will have decisions and listen to evidence on all sides,” she said.

“What I haven’t seen is any evidence, either way, what a subscription-based system would do in terms of the revenue.

“The licence fee last year raised £3.7bn for the BBC. They obviously have other sources of income as well. So I would need to understand what, if you were going to change, that would do to their income.”

Nicky Morgan (Getty)

However, sources have since told The Guardian that altering the licence fee is not a priority for Morgan, with the model to stay in place until at least 2027.

The news comes after there was widespread furore when the BBC announced earlier this year that it would scrap free licences for over-75s from 2020.

Under the new rules, only low-income households where one person receives the pension credit benefit will still be eligible for a free licence.

Morgan has since said she would not intervene in the BBC’s decision to abolish free TV licences for over-75s.


The decision means around 3.7 million elderly people will have to pay £154.50 a year.