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Our TV licence decision was a fair compromise - but in future the public must have say on BBC funding

Broadcasting House

The BBC belongs to all of us. Young and old. Rich and poor. As the first director-general, Lord Reith, put it: we’re here to bring the best of everything “in every department of human knowledge, endeavour and achievement” to the greatest number of homes. If you’re watching Brian Cox’s The Planets on BBC Two just now you’ll know how much that ideal still means to us.

For nearly a century, the BBC has carried Britain’s distinctive voice, culture and values to the world. That’s why what we have announced matters so much to everyone.

To understand it, you have to go back to 2000, when the then chancellor, Gordon Brown, decided that the government should help older pensioners by funding free TV licences...

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