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Kent MPs enter debate about scrapping the TV licence fee

Reports the government is set to replace the BBC TV licence fee with a subscription has come under fire from Kent MPs.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins, a former chairman of the all-party media select committee, was particularly scornful and described the idea as "destructive".

The TV licence is due to go up by £3 in April to £157.50 a year
The TV licence is due to go up by £3 in April to £157.50 a year

And Ashford MP Damian Green warned the idea was a potential vote loser.

The two are among a growing number of MPs who have expressed disquiet about the plan, fearing it could prove unpopular and could see popular shows and some specialist channels axed.

Mr Collins tweeted: "No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

"This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers.

"The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions."

Meanwhile, Ashford MP Damian Green - who was a broadcast journalist on Channel 4 before entering politics - tweeted: "I hope the Sunday Times story about the BBC is kite-flying.

"Destroying the BBC wasn't in our manifesto and would be cultural vandalism. Vote Tory and close Radio 2. Really?"

According to The Sunday Times, the broadcaster could be forced to sell off most of its radio stations in a "massive pruning back" of its activities.

During the recent general election campaign, Boris Johnson came under fire for his refusal to be interviewed on BBC programmes, notably the Andrew Neil show.

The government has launched a public consultation about proposals that not having a licence would no longer be a criminal offence.

The TV licence costs £154.50 a year and £52 for black and white TV sets and will rise by £3 in April.

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