Fraser Nelson

Cameron’s licence fee cut - and how he’ll pay for it

Cameron's licence fee cut - and how he'll pay for it
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All hail, Jeremy Hunt, the axe man. Cameron’s first tax cut will be a licence fee cut* – and Hunt is planning to axe some stations to pay for it.  Hunt is thinking of axing 1Extra, apparently, with BBC3 and BBC4 already under threat. Also under Hunt’s axe would be the National Lottery’s runnng costs.

The Sunday Times apparently has the details tomorrow, but I give Hunt this warning: if he even tiptoes in the direction of Cbebbies then he will have a revolution on his hands. Parents depend on it now, utterly. Personally, I’d pay £100 a year just for it – just for its kid-sedating powers.

But it makes you think: digital television does allow a subscription model and the BBC could well spin off many of these channels. Its brand extensions have included some dramatic successes (Five Live amongst them), which do suggest it is laden with commercial potential. And it's interesting to see Hunt is getting tough with the BBC already.

*Technically, this is a tax cut because since January 2006 the BBC license fee has (rightly) been classified as a tax.