My proposal in summary is this.
Draw up a white paper for discussion in the house of commons principal points being:
Privatisation of the BBC. With the introduction of a Licence Payer to Shareholder Scheme. The Share sheme would be planned to take place within this parliament, or within a four to five year period. It would legislate to provide an equally designated number of shares to each licence fee payer who was registered as having paid their television licence for four years following the passing of the 'BBC People's Share Bill'. This would result in an increase in licence fee payment over the period preceding the PLC flotation and would provide a strong springboard for the future prosperity of the new status organisation. It would also give the corporation an opportunity to 'get its house in order', by the application of good working practices and increased efficiency currently the norm in private sector firms.
The corporation would be floated on the basis of 75% licence payer to shareholder with HM Government holding a 25% share in the new organisation.
Those people who have chosen to avoid the tax in the past and continue to do so, for what ever reason, will not benefit form this scheme, and their argument would be untenable.However if they 'repent' for want of a better term, and pay the licence over the 4 year period they would receive a holding, again the extent of their rights and therefore their holding based on payment in previous years could be looked at as it is likely that diligent licence payers over many years would object to equal shares. However the structure of the fair allocation of stock would be an issue ironed out as the bill progresed through the house of commons.
The BBC is an organisation that has become increasingly anomylous over the last two to three decades. It is funded by the british tax payer but operates in many ways as a private company, with vast property assets and revenue streams which are not enjoyed by those who fund it.
Its impartiality has been drawn into question and its largely unaccountable Trust body and Executive in general being viewed as one of the bigger Quangos, presiding over gargantuan sums of public money, and appropriating it as they see fit.
With increasing areas of concern arising around the payment of massive presenter salaries from public money, which are regarded as obsene by many tax payers, I for one believe that it is time that the BBC became a public limited company, with Licence payers becoming shareholders having a say and seeing a return on their investment.
This would, I feel, increase revenues through TV Licencing, with the current Block grant being capped with the remaining revenue to the treasury to address the pressing economic black hole.
The BBC should be allowed to harness its huge network to canvas commercial revenues through advertising for a period of one or two years during the four year build up to flotation further strenthening its financial position to operate without the need for public funding following flotation and providing a platform for a strong valuation in hwat will hopefully be a more favourable economic landscape than that which we face today. These measures, in principle, would surely represent a significant saving to the people of this country in the longer long term, with the treasury benefitting from substantial tax revenues and stock dividends from the new company.
Why is this idea important?
In the light of the current deficit, the BBC should be self funding, particuarly in light of the anomalies its quasi-private staus throws up through its global operations and the assets it controls.
The 'deferred' end of the licence fee would be welcome news to many families around the country who resent the TV Tax and the mis-use of that money to pay questionable salaries. Positive feedback would be further reinforced with the promise of universal BBC Shares for 'paid-up members', with the government still holding a 25% stake.