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Half of UK want licence fee scrapped, but BBC insist its the most popular way

Half (51 per cent) of the UK want the BBC licence fee scrapped and the corporation to fund itself, a study of 2,049 Brits by ComRes has found.

However, a BBC spokesperson has told The Drum: “In fact, support for the licence fee is higher today at 53 per cent of the population than ten years ago when it was 31 per cent, and our research shows the licence fee remains the most popular way of funding the BBC across all ages and backgrounds – it’s tremendous value, and ensures that everyone gets access to great content that informs, educates and entertains."

The Whitehouse Consultancy commissioned research found 40 per cent agreed with the suggestion that the “current system of a compulsory licence fee paid by individuals who watch live television” is the best way of funding the BBC, although the same percentage also disagreed with the suggestion.

Only 34 per cent of those surveyed said that they would prefer the current system as opposed to the BBC becoming a more commercial organisation which funds itself.

Chris Whitehouse, chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said its research found the lack of support for the BBC's licence fee 'alarming'.

“There clearly isn’t solid support for the licence fee model and the public appears willing to consider alternatives means of funding the BBC, as long as abolishing the licence fee doesn’t mean higher taxes instead," he said.

“While interesting that older respondents appear to be more supportive of the licence fee than younger Britons, these figures show the huge job of work still be done by the BBC if it is to have a strong hand in the future in renegotiating the licence fee and justifying why the public should continue to pay it.”

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