Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, has announced the results of a survey he ran for constituents of North West Durham about the BBC.

Almost 1,000 constituents took part in the survey and the results were very clear.

When asked about the high levels of pay at the BBC for some celebrities, who can earn upwards of £1million a year, 85% of people stated that there needs to be pay restraint brought into place at the BBC. 82% of people felt that the BBC does not offer either good service or value for money, with just 16% of people stating that the BBC does not need reforming.

A matter of substantial debate at the moment has been whether or not the licence fee should be ‘decriminalised’. 84% of people feel that non-payment of the TV license should be a civil offence, and 81% of people believe that the blanket TV license fee approach should be abolished with a move to allow people to decide whether to pay their TV license.

When asked for further comments, many constituents said that the BBC should be ‘self-sufficient’, with more impartiality in place.

Huge presenter wages were described as ‘wrong’, and constituents stated that they wanted to see more representation from the local area and the wider North East, especially in the national news. There was criticism of the BBC’s decision to make over 75s not in receipt of pensioner credit pay the license fee, with many people saying that they had ‘lost confidence’ in the BBC.

However, there were comments welcoming the BBC’s focus on providing educational programmes for children not in school due to the global coronavirus pandemic and more support for BBC regional output, both on television and radio than for the national programming.

Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, stated:

“We had an extraordinary number of people participate in my survey on the BBC, with many more people emailing me with further comments about the BBC and changes they would like to see.

“An overwhelming majority of people believe that the BBC needs real reform, whether it’s ensuring that the North East and North West Durham are represented more on the national stage, further impartiality or presenter pack packets brought down to a more sustainable and balanced level.

“The strength of feeling about the BBC is clear: overall people want to see real reform that they feel is long overdue. I will continue to work with my constituents and my Parliamentary colleagues on the changes they would like to see.”

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