Exclusive: 'Scrap the licence fee' former Channel 4 boss hits out at 'greedy' BBC

Former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson has accused the BBC of being 'greedy', saying it should share the licence fees with other British broadcasters

The former head of Channel 4 has called for the licence fee to be scrapped, and that the BBC is being "greedy".

Luke Johnson, the former chair of Channel 4, told us how the channel would benefit from the licence fee being scrapped.

In an interview on Liam Halligan's Money Talks podcast, Mr Johnson said the BBC is now struggling to remain relevant to a younger audience.

He told us exclusively: "When it comes to the media, the UK needs to do better when it comes to developing global players, and maximising the proceeds from some of the media assets that we've invented here in Britain over the decades.

"The BBC, in this era of digital media giants, clearly struggles to be truly relevant, especially among those under the age of 30. The licence fee is regressive - and that's highly unattractive.

"The BBC is one of our great institutions. But I think scrapping the licence fee is the lesser of all evils, so yes it should be scrapped.

"Alternatively, the licence fee should be shared among the BBC and other broadcasters. I think the BBC is being selfish and greedy, keeping it all to itself.

"Channel Four should be taken public, with 100 per cent of it being sold off and the proceeds given to the government, let the market decide what it is worth - and make it an independent PLC, listed on the stock market.

"The idea the government should effectively own both the BBC and Channel 4, two public service broadcasters, is unnecessary.

"Once Channel 4 is wholly independent, listed and able to raise capital and grow in new ways - owning 100pc of some production companies - that would be a good thing for Channel 4.

"It would be less constrained, so I think an independent listing would benefit Channel 4, allowing it to grow, leveraging what is a fabulous brand.

"The risk, if things stay as they are, is that Channel 4 alternatively declines gradually, and becomes less and less relevant".

Also a former chairman of Pizza Express, Mr Johnson called for the "fiscal burden" on the High Street to be placed on global giants like Amazon.

He said: "Certainly business rates should be cut as they are inhibiting the reinvention of our High Streets - and that has an impact across the regions disproportionately."