Video: Gregory Campbell admits being a very reluctant TV licence payer and yearns for BBC promised by John Reith

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has admitted reluctantly contributing to the £3.8 billion collected by TV Licensing in 2016/17 to fund the BBC, by dutifully paying his TV licence.

However, speaking in a debate at Westminster, Mr. Campbell described the TV Licence Fee as a ‘regressive tax’ and said an overhaul of the system was needed.

Gregory Campbell.

Gregory Campbell.

“To paraphrase what someone said 70 or 80 years ago, an independent, impartial, fully accountable public service broadcaster sounds like a very good idea. Could we have one, please?” he asked.

The East Derry MP said that although he pays his licence but doesn’t think he, or other non-viewers or listeners should have to.

“Some £3.8 billion of public finances go into the BBC, which produces some very good programmes and some that are not so good,” said Mr. Campbell.

“I have a Licence Fee, but I pay it very reluctantly, for reasons I will come to in a moment. I do not have a choice; even if I want to watch the BBC only occasionally or very rarely, I still have to pay. The Licence Fee is a regressive tax.

"The £3.8 billion arises from an out-of-date funding process that is fast becoming a redundant exercise. Over the past 10 years the number of viewers who watch via delayed broadcasting has risen from 2 per cent to 14 per cent; with other providers such as Netflix and Amazon transforming viewing habits, I do not know where we will be in 10 years’ time.”

He reiterated his calls for greater transparency from the British state broadcaster.