Interest fee

BBC News: Half of Lords Inquiry into Future of Licensing Rights declares interest in BBC | Politics | News

The Communications and Digital Commission of the Second Chamber yesterday began examining future models for financing the Beeb. Before hearing testimony from four experts, each member of the panel was asked to declare whether they had an interest in the public service broadcaster under fire.

It all started when the chair of the committee, Baroness Stowell de Beeston, revealed she was a BBC employee between 2001 and 2010.

This meant that she had an interest in his pension plan.

Lord Ed Vaizey – the former Lib Dem MP – then revealed his interest in the company.

He said: “I watch the BBC all the time. I’m on the board of (the) Tate (Art Gallery) with Tim Davie – the director general of the BBC.

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Labor peer Lord Griffiths said: “I am a keen listener and viewer.

“From the moment my alarm goes off in the morning to the moment (BBC News presenter) Huw Edwards goes to bed.

“And I worked with the BBC, with their religion department for 30 years.”

Former chief executive Lord Hall went on to document his close ties to the company.

Commenting on the opening of the inquiry into future funding models, website Guido Fawkes wrote: “Wacky scenes from the Lords inquiry into BBC funding this afternoon, as half the panel tasked with discussing the future of the license fee immediately admitted to having financial interests – including pensions – in the BBC.

“This is a panel that also includes Tony Hall, the former chief executive of… the BBC.

“Obviously, this could not harm the impartial outcome of the work of the investigation…”

The survey examines how the BBC should be funded and how society should adapt to changing consumer habits.

It was created shortly after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced licensing fees would be frozen for the next two years.

She also revealed that she wanted to find a new funding model for the broadcaster after the current license fee funding agreement expires in 2027.