§ Mr. Ian Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what are his plans for setting future increases in the television licence fee.
§ Mr. Brooke
In January 1991, following a study by Price Waterhouse, the Home Secretary announced a five-year television licence fee strategy: the licence fee increase for April 1991 would be set at retail prices index (RPI) minus 3 per cent., followed by increases at RPI for the next four years. In addition, the Government gave an undertaking to reassess the position before the increase due in April 1994.
Today I have appointed Touche Ross to assess the BBC's progress in achieving the efficiency and revenue gains identified by Price Waterhouse in 1990; to advise me on the scope for any further gains; and to advise whether RPI linkage is appropriate for the licence fee increases in the next three years until the renewal of the charter.
The longer-term future of the television licence fee will be considered as part of the review of the BBC's royal charter.