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Chancellor George 18% BBC fee cut to lowest level of BBC TV since B&W 1978

Yes, it's back to when most homes had black and white televisions and there was only two TV channels on air because cutting the BBC income by 18% is what is going to be done tomorrow.

George Osbourne is going to show everyone just what a majority with 36.9% of the votes means for the British electorate.  Huzzah!   Photograph: Flikr
George Osbourne is going to show everyone just what a majority with 36.9% of the votes means for the British electorate. Huzzah! Photograph: Flikr
published on UK Free TV

7th of the 7th at 7am

I'm going to be in hospital on this budget day, having the tendons in my leg have the fragments of bone taken from them and somehow joined back together.    So I am going to miss the fun of the emergency budget, so let me get some data in now.

Updated - we have the details

We know now that the BBC will get £250m less in 2018/19, £450m in 2019/2020 and £750m in 2020/21 onwards. The change to allow iPlayer to count as needing Licence fee will come in a few years' time. From 2016 the fee will be index linked. So, here's a graph showing - adjusted for inflation - the total Licence Fee income (drops 18%) and the per paying home average licence fee, even though fixed at RPI otherwise.

Drop from 2007 (£173.82 adjusted) to £118 in 2020 represents total cuts of 32% in real terms.

The long-term view

Here's my ever-popular TV Licence 1946-2017 graph, with a new line. 

We need to factor in a new value: that is the provision of the discount for homes with someone over 75.     The 2014 Licence Fee income [1] is £3,726m from the 25.6m homes with a TV[3] and that pay £145.50.  

According to the House of Commons Library [1]

"The estimated cost of providing free television licences to all households including a pensioner would be nearly £700 million a year, while the cost of free television licences for all pensioner-only households would be approximately £490 million a year." 

The change to making the other licence fee payers support this means cutting the BBC UK Licence Fee income from £3,726m a year to £3,026m year, and 18% cut.

This mean, in terms of income that the average home licence fee is now £118, not £145.50.    I've draw the £118 line on the graph: not that you will be paying £118 – homes will either pay nothing of £145.50.

This level of income - £118 at today's prices - was last seen back in 1978 when 60.63% of homes paid £25 (£134.32 today prices) for a colour licence and the rest £10 (£53.73) for a black and white one. Just before the Winter Of Discontent, in fact.


So why not do this with free bus passes too?

According the government figures, the on concessionary travel costs about £1,400m a year, about twice the value of the free TV Licences for homes with someone 75 or over.  

Does this mean that we should also see bus fares rise by 34p to pay for the free travel by those with concessionary passes?   Would that be fair? 

The 34p add on would be splitting[5] the 4.2 billion non- concessionary bus journeys by the £1.4bn cost. 

And, the government keeps its manifesto pledge.


Or how about doing the same with the Winter Fuel payment?

If the BBC viewers are to pay for the free licences, then electricy and gas company's customers should fork out for the Winter Fuel allowance too.  That is about £2,100m a year.  

The official figures say we in total spend £14,659m on gas and £15,295m on electricity, totalling about £30bn.   

So, just adding a 7% levy to the gas and electrify bills will cover the 2.1bn needed.     That's much more equitable that just taxpayers forking out, isn't it?

And, the government keeps its manifesto pledge.


[1] BBC Full Financial Statements 2013/14

[2] House of Commons Library, Concessionary television licences: pensioners Standard Note: SN/HA/ 4955 Last updated: 25 June 2010

[3] Television ownership in private domestic households 1956-2014 (millions) - BARB

[4] Official TV Licensing website - How much does a TV Licence cost?

[5] Concessionary travel (BUS08) - Statistical data sets - GOV.UK

[6] How much do pensioners' benefits cost? - Full Fact

[7] Table 2.6.1 Total household expenditure on energy

All questions
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In this section
BBC salami-slicing returns to overnight services?1
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BBC future: make sure you make the deadline6

Thursday, 9 July 2015
Charles Stuart

12:40 PM

MikeB, I emphasize that what I say is my opinion built mainly on anecdotal evidence because I see this site as providing for that type of discussion. However, with regard to children's TV, I offer this newspaper evidence: Ban under-threes from watching television, says study | Society | The Guardian . And while it only deals with the under threes, I do feel that too much TV can't be good for older children either. I think that Richard E has every right to express his feelings without being pushed to provide evidence. In a way, the more people who say something, the more evidence there is, at least about people's views on the subject. I accept, that it will remain anecdotal until such time as one of the polling companies does some market research on the subject. I set out to have a conversation on this site, not an academic discussion.

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Charles Stuart's 159 posts GB flag
Friday, 10 July 2015

10:24 PM

Charles Stuart: While anyone is perfectly at liberty to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. The plural of anecdote is not data.

If Richard E wishes to express his views on a public forum, thats up to him. However, his 'feelings' do not trump actual facts. I'm sick and tired of silly memes, half truths, distorted figures and opinion pretending to be data constantly being churned up and treated as real evidence. That sort of derping leads us to what Jon Stewart called 'bulls**t mountain', which a place where saying something is real, no matter how nonsensical, seemingly makes it real.

And such nonsense annoys (and perhaps harms) people, it confuses, and distracts from a rational discussion. I would enjoy a rational good natured discussion about the BBC and its role. However, if someone makes a statement which is patently untrue, its very difficult - how can you move a discussion forward when someone refuses to take on board even the most basic of evidence? I too want a conversation, but not one where people get to make up their own reality. I might have an academic background, but pretty much everyone would be exasperated by trying to discuss a subject with people who just made stuff up.

The BBC is an important institution, and what it does and how it works has a effect on the wider economy and society of the UK and beyond. So we need a grownup discussion. Brianist has been kind enough to spend a lot of time laying out various scenario's, backed up by data. Its just annoying for someone to then say 'I dont accept that - its wrong' with no attempt to relate to any facts. Why bother?

As for the article you linked to, true Googling 'Aric Sigman' - it turns out he has form in making wild pronouncements based on very little. Ben Goldacre gives hima good kicking on Bad Science…-it/ , and he seems to have a thing about stuff messing with children's brains…red/ . If you read down the page, you'll see Dorothy Bishop basically saying he's little more than a quack (funnily enough she was on a an episodes of Jim Aklalili's The Life Scientific this week). I notice there are very careful quotes from several academics bascially saying' maybe..but.'.

In reality, no one is suggesting that sitting a child down in front of a TV all day is a good thing, but CBBC/Cbeebies are actually fantastic channels, with excellent programmes, which are advert free and often highly educational.Nina and the Neurons had the best explaination of 'torque' I've ever heard, and my children have an excellent grasp of history, thanks in part to Horrible Histories. That might be anecdotal, but I suspect a large number of parents would agree with me, if only judging by the large number of fans Steve Backshaw has on Mumsnet!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 13 July 2015
8:52 AM

For my license fee I'd just be grateful to be able to receive a TV signal. I have an aeriel stem as high as it can go, boosters etc and today all I get is a blank screen. No Data.

Satelite free view is also hit and miss, and why I need to be able to receive 200 channels of porn, religious nutcases shopping and trash TV I cannot imagine.
Digital TV has been a huge con as far as I am concerned, I got better reception on the old system.

Frankly I'd be delighted to go back to the days of 3 channels we had better programes and far less trash.
I be damned if I'll pay for Sky TV as well.

The BBC has become far too political, too self important and too full of itself.
There is no doubt it needs a good kick up the backside and a curb on its reckless wastage of its income.

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Kbryt's 5 posts GB flag

8:12 PM

Kbryt: Ignoring your views on the BBC (which is seemingly straight out of the Daily Mail), if your getting a terrible signal via both an aerial and a dish, you are very unlucky. So give us your postcode, which will show your location and its relationship to the nearest transmitter and the local geography. Then we can see what you should get and suggest possible ways to improved reception.

Digital signals travel in exactly the same way from the same transmitters as analogue ones do - if you were getting a decent signal on analogue, then digital should be no different. As for getting better programmes with just three channels, have a look at the BBC's excellent Genome project, where they've archived all the Radio Times schedules (TV Times is much more difficult to find). You's be surprised at what used to be available back in the day, and not always a box of delights.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 10 August 2015
1:34 PM

Thank you for your opinion of my political stance based on what newspapers you think I read. Wrong.

You must be a BBC PR man.
I am not stupid and have taken on board and acted on previous advice here and from "experts" who have relieved my of lots of cash for the advice to chop down my neighbours trees or move to a two storey house in order to get the dish higher.
Fact is digital TV is for me and others nearby a waste of money and a con.
Fact is we never had trouble with analogue.Worst was a grainy picture. even freeview from sattelite breaks up on many stations.
I am never going to put money into SKY for any reason, I do not watch sport either.

I am 70yrs old and have used the BBC services since I was sat on a pot listening to listen with mother in the 1940s.
I do not believe the present day biased output of the BBC has got anywhere near the quality of the 1950s and 60s. Its present day output is trite PC trash for the most part.

I am near the point of dumping TV in favour of whatever I can watch via the net.

Having had in the past acess to BBC archives at Broadcasting House in the 80s I am well aware of the content of them, and what they are lacking.

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Kbryt's 5 posts GB flag

2:30 PM

Kbryt: Except your reply sounds exactly like something from the Daily Mail. Of course you could be reading other papers, but it still does not change the reality that your opinions seem to have no basis in quantifiable fact.

And you havn't bothered to supply a postcode, which means we still have no idea what your reception should actually be. TV reception is about physics - and if the position of the transmitter and your aerial has not changed, then something else has. Thats not the fault of the TV companies, thats down to you.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Sunday, 16 August 2015
6:11 PM

Why you need to bring newpapers into this I have no idea, I never read any of them, but your instant, ooh Daily Mail response is pure leftwing BS and has nothingto do with my lack of signal.

According to this site,which I have read and studied for some years I should get a good straight line signal from Mendip; in the summer I don't, in the winter I do depending onthe eweather. Nothing has changed since the change over from analogue, my ariel has got taller, has boosters on it aand has left me about 200 quid out of pocket. Technicians advice was to cut down my neighbours trees as they are in the way, I am in a valley in the Pewsey Vale and have been for 30 years.
Fact I got analogue no problem
Fact Digital freeview is far worse.
Fact I am paying for a TV license for a service I cannot use except sporadically.

I do not consider that to be an improvement; whoever OK'd digital knew very well that due to geography certain places in the UK would get worse reception with digital. I get no rebate for a worse service.

"TV reception is about physics"
exactly, I get no decent signal because of the geography around me, I cannot change that.

Therefore I consider my license fee to receive a TV signal is money obtained under false pretences; only the BBC would get away with it, but not for long I hope.

Your constant irrelevant references to a newspaper that has no connection to my issue I consider snide.
It says more about you than me.
I have seen the BBC degrade from a much respected institution to the arrogant biased and selective gravy train it is now.
Thank you for your input.

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Kbryt's 5 posts GB flag

9:23 PM

Kbryt: Oh God, another 'I pay my licence fee'...

If your getting a rubbish signal in summer, but a great one in winter, then trees sound about right...leaves on the trees in summer, not in winter. How the terrain has changed so much between analogue and digital that your signal is suddenly rubbish remains a mystery (although every geologist in the country will want to know the answer). Or of course you have far too much signal strength owing to your boosters!

But dont listen to anyone on this website, just get a local TV rigger to advise you - they are local, they will know the terrain, etc. Or just get Freesat - as long as there are no trees in the way, your golden.

And while you continue to moan on about the BBC, you still havn't bothered to include a postcode...

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
MikeB's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 23 August 2015
3:18 PM

I won't put my post code on an open site as my house is thus readily identified, being so rural.
However I have checked what signal I should get on this site via postcode. So I know what I should get.

A TV rigger installed all my equipment.
His advice was that the trees are blocking my signal.
He being local also said that this SN postcode has seveal blackspots in which digital reception is either non existant or patchy. Some areas a few miles away have lost channel 5 entirely, no big loss I agree.

I also have freesat and on a day like today some channels like Sky news break up.
Yes I do pay a fee and expect a service at least equal to that which I had before. Otehrwise it is money ontained under false pretences.

Your puerile and sarcastic comments and your geological 'expertise' from the other end of the country are about what I would expect from a junior BBC minion. Because thats what you obviously are.
So thanks for your unhelpful insulting comments which have been of no use at all except for you to vent your spleen and bile which you base on presumptions.

You are basically a bigoted idiot. Why you post on here I have no idea.

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Kbryt's 5 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
2:49 AM

Kbryt: I am happy to say that I also live in a valley in the SN postcode area, perhaps 10 miles from the Vale of Pewsey, and I have EXACTLY the same reception issues, if not worse. My TV ariel reception is pathetic and I simply can't get satellite reception at all, due to trees in the line of sight.

Fundamentally, my view is that the BBC is superb institution, it provides a considerable number of unique and high quality services, it might well be the finest Public Service Broadcaster in the world. However it is very much that: a Public Service. We don't pay an annual fee for Health or Education, they are Fee at the point of use and I strongly disagree with the current funding model.

The TV Licence requires me to pay for permission to watch ANY television at all, from any source. If the BBC is a Public Service, run for the benefit of a Public good. It is a grotesque state of affairs that I would be committing a criminal offence to access a news channel from another provider if I din't pay for the BBC.

Further, why should I pay to watch BBC if, in fact, I only watch ITV, or any combination of other Broadcasters that doesn't include the BBC?

It seems reasonable that if it is a Public Service, or run for a Public benefit, it should be funded and available as such. Alternatively, it could have a modular subscription with a core, basic package funded by the State and optional, paid extras, opera and classical music, BBC 6, Children's TV, BBC Parliament and the World Service spring to mind. While they are all valuable in their own way, to select and very small audiences, they are not valuable, individually, to the vast majority of Licence Fee payers who are legally required to subsidise them.

Whatever the alternative, under no circumstances what-so-ever should watching the news be a criminal offence.

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RichardW's 8 posts GB flag
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