BBC licence fee row erupts on GMB as Ed Balls blasts ‘It would be a tenth of the size’

A row over the BBC licence fee increase broke out on Tuesday’s instalment of Good Morning Britain, with host Ed Balls claiming “it would be a tenth of the size”.

The TV licence has been frozen for two years at £159 per annum but is due to rise in line with inflation for four years from next spring.

A guest on the show explained: “The BBC has to take the burden all the time, which is squeezing the BBC and squeezing the quality of the BBC’s output.

“I recognise in the long term and alternative way of funding needs to be worked out. I don’t think the licence fee can last forever and it is difficult to get people to pay the licence fee frankly.”

Later on in the interview, Ed shared: “So over 20 million people currently pay this licence fee. If you got rid of it and said it was going to be a subscription model, then the BBC would be a quarter, a fifth, a tenth of the size it is now.”

The first guest replied: “This is something which has got to be thought through in the long term, but I suspect you are right.

Good Morning Britain viewers flocked to Twitter to weigh in on the debate, with Sue penning: “It’s a disgrace having to pay £159 without putting it up by £15 #gmb.”

Michael Lindsay added: “#gmb if you have a TV then you have to have a licence. Even if you don’t watch BBC. That is the issue I have with fees going up, I don’t have a choice. Either make it a subscription or have ads to pay for its running.” (sic)

Evelyn Taylor-Williams wrote: “Why on earth do we need a TV licence? Will my TV go tearing down the road if I don’t have a licence? Will my TV commit crimes if I didn’t have a licence? WHY are we forced to hand over money to fund an outdated channel we CANNOT unsubscribe from?” (sic)

Grant shared: “If you look at the weekly TV schedule, it’s dominated by repeated shows – it simply isn’t value for money! We live in an era where more people choose to stream what they wish to watch over the traditional TV channels. SCRAP the licence fee!”

Other viewers defended the fee. Jen Morgan remarked: “#GMB BBC is worth every penny. Hundreds of local radio and TV stations. Cheap at the price.”

Another fan wrote: “Let’s not forget BBC own a bunch of commercial stations that are subscription channels under their commercial arm of BBC Studios.”

The licence, which was originally for radio, was introduced in 1923 and cost 10 shillings per annum. It was extended to TV in 1946 at a cost of £2.

Good Morning Britain continues on weekdays at 6am on ITV and ITVX.


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