BBC Trust offers to freeze at ?145.50 for two years

BBC TV licence fee freeze

The British television licence fee has been frozen for a year on the basis of continuing economic pressures.

The BBC had been entitled to a 2 per cent increase but citing "exceptional pressures" of the "current economic climate" the BBC Trust proposed a freeze in the licence fee for the next two years. The licence fee will now remain at £145.50 until March 2013 but a firm decision on the following year has yet to be taken.

The freeze will effectively impose a £144m budget shortfall in the BBC’s £3.5b budget. The Trust had earlier asked BBC bosses to analyse the corporation’s budgets and assess whether short-term savings could be made.

"We also recognise that the British public is facing an exceptionally tough financial climate", said BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons in a statement.

"A freeze in income will not be pain-free, and this decision was not taken lightly. But the Trust is satisfied that the BBC can manage the impact while continuing to deliver the range of programmes and services that the public loves."

The Trust also said that a pan-BBC review was under way to "establish what level of long-term efficiencies can be found after 2013."

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