13:27 GMT24 January 2021
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    The top executive at Britain's largest news service will deliver a speech on Wednesday arguing for continued support for licencing fees aimed at financing the corporation's work, amid concerns and calls to rethink the funding scheme by senior Cabinet officials.

    BBC chairman Sir David Clementi will say in a speech on Wednesday that forcing the media outlet behind a paywall would weaken the corporation's ability to "bring the country together".

    Sir David will add that diminishing the nation's "great national asset" will lead to a "weakened United Kingdom", he will say in his speech in Salford later today, adding that Brits will lose access to the "live important moments we enjoy as a nation" such as the Olympics and Royal weddings.

    "Sitting behind a paywall, it would no longer be the place that brings the country together for the Strictly final, or Gavin & Stacey on Christmas Day, or the Armistice Anniversary or Holocaust Memorial. Nor would it be the place that all could turn to celebrate live important moments we enjoy as a nation: Royal Weddings or Jubilees, or Olympic successes," Clementi  will say in the speech.

    He will add that it would be "very unlikely" to continue curating programmes for children or the Bitesize educational services at similar levels, as well as maintain the "same commitment to investing in home-grown ideas and talent".

    Sir David also plans to note how the UK government may need to fund roughly £250m to cover losses from scrapping the licence fee for the BBC World service.

    "The BBC will engage fully with the government's [licence fee] consultation, but it must be based on the evidence. A decision of this scale, taking hundreds of millions out of the BBC and the creative economy, must not be taken in isolation," BBC chairman is set to add.

    The speech comes after UK prime minister Boris Johnson and others have mulled scrapping licence fees, with UK culture secretary Nicky Morgan launching an eight-week public consultation on whether to decriminalise non-payment of TV licence fees.

    Ms Morgan said at the time that the government needed to "think carefully" about keeping the TV licence fee relevant, adding that the funding model needed to change as fewer young people were using the BBC's radio, TV and online channels.

    The channel, which has been accused of overspending on company salaries and alleged political bias, also announced roughly 450 job in January to reach the corporation's £80m savings target in 2020. Several shows, including the BAFTA-winning Victoria Derbyshire programme, have been axed due to budget cuts.

    Further news broke after BBC chief Tony Hall announced his resignation in January, where he will step down in the summer this year, just ahead of the company's mid-term charter review in 2022.


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