United Kingdom says could decriminalize non-payment of BBC license fee

A Boris victory in this week’s election make an early poll here a virtual certainty

That man who's living the dream of being the UK's prime minister at the moment has suggested that a future government may end the licence fee model used to pay for the BBC, with Boris Johnson pondering on if it "makes sense" for the BBC to continue to enjoy its unique funding arrangement.

British prime minister Boris Johnson entered the final few days of election campaigning in Britain by launching a thinly-veiled attack on the BBC's funding model.

Mr Johnson said: "I certainly think that the BBC should cough up and pay for the licenses for the over 75s as they promised to do".

The future of United Kingdom public broadcaster the BBC has again come into question after the British government admitted it was considering whether to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee that supports the organisation.

When a startled Mr Johnson asked "For everybody?" the employee responded: "Yes".

His aides later confirmed that Downing Street officials are working on proposals for a major overhaul of broadcasting funding with options including turning the BBC into a subscription service like Netflix or even making payments voluntary.

Ahead of the December 12 general election, Johnson questioned "how long" the current system of funding the BBC can be justified.

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Speaking to BBC Radio, justice secretary Robert Buckland said that his ruling Conservative party had discussed the "decriminalisation of failing to pay the TV licence".

The BBC has continued to argue that the licence fee as its primary source of income enables it to remain editorially independent.

The other option being looked at is to make the viewers' contribution voluntary by decriminalising non-payment.

He added: "I was struck the other day that the parliamentary committee said the other day the licence fee should be prolonged for another ten years - that seems to me to be too long not to be taking account of the very rapid changes".

But the advent of social media - where criticism of the BBC frequently goes viral - and the rise of streaming giants which operate a different model, has increased pressure on the BBC recently.

A spokesperson from the broadcaster said: "As we've said before, the licence fee ensures a universal BBC which serves everyone, is the most popular funding system among the public, and is agreed as the method of funding the BBC for another eight years".

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