Front Page

The Licence Fee

The reduced Licence Fee

The Human Cost of the Licence Fee - the untold story

The Conspiracy of Silence

The Licence and the Law

Criminalising Licence Evasion

Dipsy's Tale



To see the BBC's full Statement of Accounts click HERE





If you have examples of waste and inefficiency within the BBC please let us know.


The CAL Discussion Forum




Click HERE to see the Act of Law under which TV Licensing will prosecute you.


The Figures

(Note: all figures taken from the BBC's Consolidated Statement of Income and Expenditure for the year ended 31st March 1999. Click HERE to see them)

What would you spend 2.8 billion on..? This is what it cost in the year 1988-99 to run the BBC. That's 2,800,000,000... takes your breath away, doesn't it.

Where does this money come from..? the vast majority of cash, 75% of it, comes from the British public in the form of the Licence Fee.

There is also the BBC's various business interests...

  • BBC Worldwide, which sells BBC products and brands, made 81 million profit in the year 1998-99.

  • Sales of programmes to the Open University made 25 million.

  • Subscriptions to the World Service brought in 15 million.

  • Income from other sources, such as sales of assets and investments, made 15 million

  • And most delicious of all, interest earned on cash paid in advance by licence payers (who use the TV Licence Savings Stamps Scheme) raked in 36 million.

In the year 1998-99 the BBC businesses made a gross profit of, wait for it... 172 million.

This is not a British public service broadcaster, it's a huge multinational corporation.

The BBC's latest venture is called 'BBC America'. This is available on satellite and cable to viewers in the United States and Canada. It is a free channel paid for by commercial advertising. The BBC makes a lot of money from the commercials on BBC America. The programmes shown on BBC America were originally aired on BBC1 and BBC2. In otherwords, these programmes were funded by the television licence fee, yet TV Licence payers in the UK see nothing of the money that BBC America makes. We don't even get a reduction in the TV Licence, which continues to rise year by year.

Even with the Licence Fee, and with the various business interests, there is still a shortfall to make up the 2.8 billion running costs. This comes from the Treasury in the form of a subsidy. That's right, me and you, the tax payer, forked out more than 400 million last year to the BBC. How many schools and hospitals would 400 million build?

In this Alice in Wonderland scenario, with vast amounts of money sloshing around, the BBC even manages to show an overal 'profit' - 86 million in the year 1998-99.

What possible justification can there be for this goliath-like business to take huge sums of money from the British public, money that is badly needed elsewhere? The BBC will always argue that they set standards of excellence in broadcasting, that they need to invest to keep up with new technology. This is true to a certain extent, but there's a matter of degrees involved here: do we, the British public, really need all this...

  • 2 national and 14 regional tv stations

  • 5 national and 44 regional radio stations

  • a 24 hour national tv news service (NEWS 24)

  • BBC World Service Television

  • BBC ONE and BBC TWO Widescreen Television



  • Digital radio

  • BBC Online

And to run it all the BBC needs to employ more than 23,000 people. It has to buy huge amounts of goods and services. It has to maintain a prodigious programme output to give its massive workforce something to do... hmm, It's not surprising that the BBC burns up billions of pounds every year, billions of pounds of your money.

The BBC has a reputation for excellence that all British citizens should be proud of. The C.A.L. believe that the BBC should retain its role as our public service broadcaster, but within limits.There can be no justification for the BBC to take such a large sum from the public purse when other sectors - health, education, transport - are desperately short of money. The Licence Fee should not be used to subsidise a multinational corporation that has overstepped the mark.


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