The BBC needs a different funding and governance model fit for changed times

The Licence Fee is an anachronistic and regressive tax, it is also astonishing value. If you look at the cost of far more limited subscription services like Netflix or Sky Sports the Beeb is a bargain. 50p per day per household to cover the cost of the provision of the full range of BBC services is far from uncommercial – market leader by far.

So the issue is not the cost or the value but how you collect it. The BBC is arguably an essential public service and as such logic says it could be funded from general taxation. The argument that this penalises people who for whatever reason do not watch or listen to the BBC is bunkum. I willingly pay taxes for (for example) the provision of education services (schools) which I have never used.

All, and more, for 50p a day !

If the BBC becomes a direct charge on the exchequer it needs to be far more directly publicly accountable. Establish a Trustee Board that we vote for periodically whose duty would be to monitor BBC activities and performance, appoint key functionaries like the Chairman and ensure our money is properly spent. It is probably the case that currently the Corporation does some things better left to someone else, and doesn’t do some things it usefully could. The democratically elected Trustee Board would monitor this – and take decisions. It would not just be a powerless talking shop.

The BBC does many things that are unique and best practice – The World Service, the Open University, The Proms and the superb range of radio channels for example. It’s News and Current Affairs has some problems and decision making in this area seems over politicised. It’s worth stressing that to fund it out of public taxation need not make it more vulnerable to political meddling if it’s governance it’s accountable to elected trustees rather than politicians.

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