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The row over the BBC’s coverage of Boris Johnson’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee.

Talks on a new settlement for funding the broadcaster are now at a critical juncture as it argues for increases in the fee to fund its programmes.

The licence fee is set to be frozen this year but there are still tense negotiations about whether the corporation will get a rise on the current £159 annual cost next year, sources say.

The dispute could affect these discussions with the Government, it is feared.

A new licence fee settlement comes into effect from April, which will decide the funding the BBC gets for at least five years. It is understood ministers had previously been keen on freezing the fee for year two of the deal as well.

But amid increasing concerns about rising inflation, there is now a debate about whether some kind of rise would be more appropriate for the second year instead.

Sources expect that for the remaining years of the deal after that, the licence fee is likely to rise in line with inflation.

The row over the BBC’s coverage of Boris Johnson’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

The row over the BBC’s coverage of Boris Johnson’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

The row over the BBC’s coverage of Boris Johnson’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

One senior source said that, while the Government originally wanted the first two years of the settlement to see no licence fee price rise, this would be ‘very tough’ because inflation was so high

One senior source said that, while the Government originally wanted the first two years of the settlement to see no licence fee price rise, this would be ‘very tough’ because inflation was so high

One senior source said that, while the Government originally wanted the first two years of the settlement to see no licence fee price rise, this would be ‘very tough’ because inflation was so high

One senior source said that, while the Government originally wanted the first two years of the settlement to see no licence fee price rise, this would be ‘very tough’ because inflation was so high.

It is claimed ministers want to help the public deal with the cost of living crisis, but they do not want to punish the BBC. 

Whatever the outcome, it is likely the BBC’s spending on TV dramas will take a considerable hit in the coming years.

The BBC has also been faced with significant TV industry price inflation, with the streaming boom caused by the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video driving up the cost of shows, especially dramas.

The licence fee deal has taken longer to announce than expected. It was previously thought the agreement would have been announced before Christmas. Pictured: Nick Robinson of the Today programme

The licence fee deal has taken longer to announce than expected. It was previously thought the agreement would have been announced before Christmas. Pictured: Nick Robinson of the Today programme

The licence fee deal has taken longer to announce than expected. It was previously thought the agreement would have been announced before Christmas. Pictured: Nick Robinson of the Today programme

The row over the BBC ’s coverage of Boris Johnson ’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

The row over the BBC ’s coverage of Boris Johnson ’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

The row over the BBC ’s coverage of Boris Johnson ’s political turmoil threatens delicate negotiations with ministers about the future of the corporation’s licence fee

Rishi Sunak was last night warned he risks damaging his leadership challenge hopes by withholding support from Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak was last night warned he risks damaging his leadership challenge hopes by withholding support from Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak was last night warned he risks damaging his leadership challenge hopes by withholding support from Boris Johnson

Last October Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries suggested that the BBC would need to tell her how it was ‘going to change’ before it got a settlement fee.

Later that month the BBC unveiled an action plan to ensure its content was ‘fair, accurate and unbiased’ after a review.

Whatever the outcome, it is likely the BBC’s spending on TV dramas such as The Tourist (above) will take a considerable hit in the coming years

Whatever the outcome, it is likely the BBC’s spending on TV dramas such as The Tourist (above) will take a considerable hit in the coming years

Whatever the outcome, it is likely the BBC’s spending on TV dramas such as The Tourist (above) will take a considerable hit in the coming years

The licence fee deal has taken longer to announce than expected. It was previously thought the agreement would have been announced before Christmas. 

It is understood a major factor in the delay has been concerns around inflation and the fact that tackling the Covid-19 pandemic has had to take precedence.

Negotiations are ongoing, with some predicting that a deal may not be agreed by the end of this month. 

The BBC declined to comment.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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