The BBC is running on borrowed time and its behaviour, and that of its regulator the BBC Trust, is endangering its existence, says Tessa Jowell, the long-serving culture secretary in the Labour Government and main architect of the BBC’s 10-year licence fee settlement in 2007.
Jowell accused the BBC of "wanting the benefits of the private sector with none of the risk’ and warned that the BBC will face "the fight of its life" to preserve the licence fee under the new coalition government.
She also implied that the BBC Trust had failed to do the job is was set up for. "The conception of the BBC Trust was essentially to put the licence fee payer in charge. It is for those who are members of the trust, the chairman of the trust, to exercise the imagination and to understand the mood of the moment."
The BBC is funded by a mandatory licence but according to Jowell it does not see itself as part of public service or having to justify its actions and expenses.
The BBC Trust responded: "The BBC Trust consults with licence fee payers wherever possible to get their views…the BBC has introduced measures such as a 25% cut in the senior manager pay bill, tough efficiency targets and greater transparency in pay and expenses."