Purnell suggests “other broadcasters” could share licence fee

The Government is considering plans to share the BBC licence fee across rival broadcasters to help pay for public service programming, according to culture secretary James Purnell. It is the first time the government has revealed it is considering the plans.

Purnell, who made the comments last night (January 17) at the Oxford Media Convention, said the Government was looking at whether rival broadcasters could cover part of the licence fee. 

The Government is thought to have decided to make the plans public after the BBC’s chairman Sir Michael Lyons suggested that cutting the licence fee might harm the BBC’s output.

In his speech, Purnell also suggested the Government might bring forward legislation to keep the public service ethos in an increasingly digital world.

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