The reaction follows Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries using a newspaper article to say the cost of a licence fee would be frozen. Later Ms Dorries Tweeted saying that the next licence fee announcement ‘will be the last’, leading to speculation that the licence fee could be scrapped when the current charter runs out in 2027.
If the Government freezes the licence fee at £159 for the next two years, with 5.1 per cent inflation expected, the impact would be a real-terms cut of £2bn in the corporation’s finances.
The BBC is a major employer of musicians. It has a diverse range of music offerings everything from 6 Music to Radio 3 and invests in a wide genre of both traditional and new music. The BBC has also developed wonderful music education resources for children and schools. Further cuts to the corporation could negatively impact some of this work.
Responding ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said, “The BBC is an important part of the music ecology and the music industry. It is a large employer of musicians and by investing a wide spectrum of music genres, including emerging artists and classical music it has provided much-needed work to musicians who have been so badly hit by Covid. Through its radio, podcasts, live events and television production it further provides opportunities to work directly for the corporation or have their music heard by audiences.
We are concerned about the impact further deep cuts at the BBC could have on its investment in music, which would be potentially devastating for our music industry. Cuts to music and music education must be avoided at all costs.”