Facebook And Google Should Pay BBC Licence Fee, Suggests Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader to attack "unaccountable billionaires" in speech on media.

Facebook, Google and other tech giants should be forced to pay a “digital licence fee” to sustain the BBC, Jeremy Corbyn will say on Thursday.

In a speech focused on the media, the Labour leader will attack “unaccountable billionaires who control huge swathes of our public space and debate”.

Corbyn will outline plans to “democratise” the BBC in ways he believes will make it more accountable to the public and more representative of the country.

Among them are proposals to create a new independent body to set the licence fee.

“The licence fee itself is another potential area for modernisation. In the digital age, we should consider whether a digital licence fee could be a fairer and more effective way to fund the BBC,” Corbyn will say in the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

“A digital licence fee, supplementing the existing licence fee, collected from tech giants and Internet Service Providers, who extract huge wealth from our shared digital space, could allow a democratised and more plural BBC to compete far more effectively with the private multinational digital giants like Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook.”

Corbyn will argue this could reduce the cost of the licence fee for poorer households.

The Labour leader has clashed with the media in recent weeks amid allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.

This week he said Labour was facing greater hostility from the media “than we’ve probably ever had before”.

And speaking to party activists in Birmingham last week he attacked the “media glitterati” for its coverage of the party.

Earlier this year Corbyn also posted a video message warning the press “change is coming”.