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Half of viewers would bin the TV licence

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Almost two thirds of Britons want the TV Licence scrapped or cut, a survey has revealed.

Half of those questioned 50% want the annual £145.50 fee abolished while one in eight 12% said it should be reduced.

And more than three in five 62% admitted they would welcome ads between their favourite BBC shows if it meant getting rid of the charge.

The survey, conducted by online research panel YourViewK, questioned 578 people over three days last week on how they felt about the licence fee.

It was commissioned by The Sunday Post after MPs backed plans to give the Government power to decriminalise non-payment of the charge.

Taxpayers groups said the survey shows the BBC has to “move into the 21st Century”.

But Labour MP Jim Sheridan, who sits on the House of Commons Media Select Committee, hit back, saying: “If we want a quality service, we have to pay for it.”

The poll found 50% of people think dodging the licence fee should no longer be a criminal offence.

This compared to 42% who want the status quo maintained.

There is limited support for the BBC introducing means-testing for the licence fee with only 19% in favour.

Meanwhile 51% of those questioned believe people who don’t have a TV but watch BBC programmes online should have to pay for a licence.

Perhaps more damningly for the BBC, 60% do not believe the licence fee is value for money and a further 68% believe the income is habitually squandered by the corporation.

However, the findings on the future of the licence fee represent the most striking indication of public opinion.

Half of voters want the fee scrapped, almost three times more than the next most popular option, to increase it in line with inflation, backed by 18%.

Dia Chakravarty, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It isn’t surprising that so many taxpayers want to see the licence fee scrapped.

“The BBC must cut wasteful spending and deliver better value.”

However, Renfrewshire MP Jim Sheridan argued introducing adverts on the BBC would be a bad move.

He said: “The use of adverts, making the BBC a commercial channel, would be a mistake. I see no credible alternative to the TV Licence.

“The BBC produces excellent content and fulfils obligations commercial channels simply would not be able to do.”

Vivienne Pattison, of TV watchdog Mediawatch, said: “You only need to look back over the last couple of years to see all the headlines that have come out of the BBC, like the Jimmy Savile investigation and the pay-offs to executives, to see where this feeling amongst the public comes from.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Support for the licence fee is at 53% way ahead of subscription and advertising.

“It’s the top choice for funding the BBC across all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.”

YourViewK offers you the chance to have your say on the big talking points.

The online panel lets you share opinions and register a vote in vital research polls that help gauge public feeling.

If you want to have your say on all the most talked about issues, sign up to YourViewK and start contributing.

You will be invited to take part in surveys by email, but there is no obligation to complete every survey just take part in those that interest you.

And as a thank-you for sharing your view your details will automatically be entered into a monthly prize draw for the chance to win a cool £150!

Sign up now at yourviewk.com.