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Ex- BBC chairman seeks licence fee rise to keep pace with Sky

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By John Glenday, Reporter

January 23, 2013 | 2 min read

Gavyn Davies, a former BBC chairman, has waded into the thorny wicket of the BBC licence fee by calling for it to be raised in order to protect public service broadcasting in the face of the remorseless rise of Sky – according to reports in

">The Times today.

The call comes ahead of the latest round of licence fee renegotiation, set for 2016, and was the first public comments made by Davies since his resignation in 2004 in the wake of criticism of his organisation by the Hutton report on Iraqi WMD controversy.

The fee has been frozen at £149 until that point but Davies believes household incomes will have recovered sufficiently by that point to warrant a splurge.

Sky now has 10m customers following rapid growth of its subscription service, significantly expanding its broadcasting revenue.

Davies said: “I know that putting the licence fee up at a time of real stringency for households is not going to be welcome to anybody.

“But what I would hope is that as soon as the constraints begin to lift, the licence fee can start to rise again because what I don’t want to see is a permanent situation where the role of public service funding is simply declining [long term] compared to subscription in the private sector.”

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