Peter Hoskin

Clever politics - but not something to really loosen the fiscal squeeze

Clever politics - but not something to really loosen the fiscal squeeze
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The take-home point from Cameron's press conference seems to be his announcement that the Tories would freeze the 2 percent rise in the BBC licence fee pencilled in for this year - Jeremy Hunt also discussed this earlier on ConservativeHome.  My quick take on it is that it's clever politics, but deeply unambitious. 

The clever politics first: after the recent scandals that the Beeb's been embroiled in, there's less public goodwill towards the corporation, and more reluctance surrounding the licence fee.  The Tory proposal keys into that, as well as giving them a platform to talk about saving money for households, ordinary families and the like.  To some extent, any attempt to loosen the fiscal squeeze must be welcomed.  And yet...

The saving would only amount to £3 for every household with a colour TV.  And, from what Cameron's saying, the freeze would only apply this year - after that, a Tory government would look at the licence fee on a "year by year basis".  So, unless the Tories are elected this year, it's a bit of a non-promise.  And - in light of the figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers today, as well as the other burdens faced by the British public - one that hardly seems adequate to the scale of the problem. 

P.S. Expect more coverage of Cameron's press conference from Fraser later.  A CoffeeHouser's question was put to the Tory leader.