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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 17:16 GMT
Colour TV licence fee to rise 5
Absolutely Fabulous
Shows such as Absolutely Fabulous are funded by the licence
The colour TV licence fee is to go up by 5 to 121 a year, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has announced.

The black and white fee will rise 2 to 40.50. Both take effect on 1 April.

The BBC has to raise about 1.1bn through efficiency savings and increased income under a settlement agreed with ministers.

The rise would help the BBC to provide a "strong schedule" of high quality programmes and keep at the forefront of broadcast technology, said Ms Jowell.

Gavyn Davies, BBC chairman
BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has defended its independence
The rate of increase is set according to a formula announced by the government in 2000.

This followed a report on the future funding of the BBC by an independent review panel.

BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has accused the government of putting its independence under threat following the Iraq dossier row.

The dispute centred on a suggestion by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan that the government had "sexed up" an intelligence file on weapons of mass destruction.

Ms Jowell has said she will carefully consider the outcome of the Hutton inquiry, held in the wake of the row into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

But she has insisted that the BBC will not be punished following the fall-out, and it will have no bearing on her decisions on the BBC's charter and the licence fee.

Ms Jowell has said she is determined the public will be involved in the debate over the renewal of the BBC's charter which expires in 2006.

She has also insisted the BBC's core public service output will be protected for at least 10 to 15 years.

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