#BBC threat: Former boss's blunt response to 'time bomb' fear for ...

THE BBC's former boss Lord Tony Hall gave a blunt response to claims that a "time bomb" had been "placed under" the corporation.

PUBLISHED: 20:36, Sun, Nov 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 20:38, Sun, Nov 1, 2020

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Lord Hall served as director general of the BBC for seven years until August, when he was replaced by Tim Davie. During his tenure, the Royal Charter, which dictates the aims and how much money is allocated to the corporation, was renegotiated and changes were paid to licence fee payments. Lord Hall revealed David Cameron’s Conservative-majority forced the BBC to waive the sum charge to the over-75s during tense negotiations. As of August this year, only those over that age bracket who are on pension credits can claim a free TV licence. During a heated discussion that same month, on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show podcast, host Amol Rajan accused Lord Hall of having left a “time bomb” beneath the corporation.

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The former BBC head claimed the 11-year charter they had negotiated was “really lucky” because it expires in 2027, rather than the predicted maximum of two or three years.

He also managed to ensure that the fee would go up with inflation year-on-year – currently at £157.50 for a colour subscription – which he claimed will put them in a “really strong” position.

Lord felt the corporation would be in an “excellent shape” when it is time to renegotiate, especially considering those “who were coming at us at the time”.

But Mr Rajan disagreed with the former head’s take and stated the “brutal truth” was that it was not as strong as he claimed.

He said: “The fact is at the end of that negotiation, which you led for the BBC, the BBC had a time bomb placed underneath it.

“That time bomb is going-off just as you’re leaving and that’s a bad look isn’t it? That’s an uncomfortable place for you to be and a cynic would say you wouldn’t need to anticipate the aftermath.”

Lord Hall rejected the claim that he deliberately left ahead of future negotiations and stated that he “absolutely wanted to deal with the reforms to the over-75s”.

bbc tv licence fee over 75 free cost tony hall ukBBC: Lord Tony Hall, former director general, rejected claims of a 'time bomb' beneath the corp (Image: GETTY)

bbc tv licence fee over 75 free cost tony hall ukBBC: Tim Davie took over from

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