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Andrew Neil says BBC must scrap TV licence for new model 'Hard to use to pay big salaries'


The former BBC presenter said the licence fee is not enough to “pay huge salaries” and that a “two-tier” funding model would be best. His remarks come amid plans by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to ditch the household fee — a flat £159 a year — when the corporation’s royal charter is renewed in 2028.

Mr Neil, who worked for the BBC for more than two decades, pointed at the organisation’s current funding as an issue to retain talent.

He said: “Market economics are finally hitting the BBC.

“The situation is systematic.”

Mr Neil himself left the BBC in 2020 for a short-lived stint on GB News and is now preparing to launch a Channel 4 politics show in the summer.

Under the working title Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil, it will initially air for ten weeks in a 6.30pm slot.

READ MORE: ‘BBC losing it’s allure’ Major problem pinpointed as talent flees corporation

But he’s far from the only one who has left the BBC over recent months.

The broadcaster has only just lost two of its leading hosts Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel, who are to join the media group Global – with a huge salary raise.

Ms Maitlis, the lead presenter on Newsnight, and Mr Sopel, the former North America editor, will front a new podcast, host a radio show on LBC and provide commentary and analysis for the station’s website.

The BBC said: “We look forward to the national debate on the next charter and, of course, all options should be considered.

“The BBC is owned by the public and their voice.”

But while money is one problem, with the BBC’s on-air presenters often receiving lucrative proposals by the likes of Global and News UK, that is not all.

The departure of the Maitlis-Sopel power duo is thought to be linked to more than the seven-figure deal they got offered by Global.

Mr Maitlis has on many an occasion been reprimanded by the BBC for her social media activity as it sought the journalist to support its impartiality drive.

Andrew Marr, who left the broadcaster after 21 years for a new venture on his LBC, said he was looking forward to more freedom to express himself away from the BBC’s rigid impartiality rules.

As he announced his exit, he wrote on Twitter: “I think British politics and public life are going to go through an even more turbulent decade and, as I’ve said, I am keen to get my own voice back.

“I have been doing the Andrew Marr Show every Sunday morning for 16 years now and that is probably more than enough time for anybody.”



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