Ofcom chair Grade calls on government to look at ‘regressive’ licence fee model

Ofcom’s HQ (Source: Ofcom)

Ofcom chair Michael Grade has called for the government to take another look at how UK pubcaster the BBC is funded, describing the current licence fee as a “regressive” tax.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Grade said it was unfair that someone like him should pay the same as a single mother living with three children in a rented room.

Grade also said that the next BBC Charter review by the government would have to look at whether the BBC should be allowed to compete for advertising at a time when existing commercial broadcasters are under pressure.

Grade, who became Ofcom chairman a year ago after then prime minister Boris Johnson failed to secure the appointment of his favoured candidate, controversial former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, also said that next BBC chair should have a higher profile in representing the views of the BBC board.

In other comments to the FT, Grade said that it made sense to have a regulator with a broad remit over media, telecoms and technology in the age of convergence. Ofcom has taken on new responsibilities for the regulation of online content and streaming services.

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