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France approves plan to scrap TV licence fee

France approves plan to scrap TV licence fee
Broadcasters worry they will be forced to rely more on advertising following bill

France is set to remove its television licence fee following the approval of Emmanuel Macron’s promise to ease the burden on households by cutting the public broadcasting tax.

The French president pledged the cut when he ran for his second term in spring this year as part of his vision to continue lower taxes.

The French licence fee is €138 a year in France which is approximately £115, compared to the UK TV license, which is £159 a year.

However, the plan caused a heated debate in the Senate, with President Macron’s opponents on the left raising concerns about the future funding of public television and radio, and broadcasting.

Members on the right were also critical of the bill for being too rushed and poorly prepared.

Many broadcasters are concerned that they will have to rely on government grants from VAT receipts instead of the tax brought in by households, according to Variety.

This has led to fears that broadcasters would be under more pressure from government figures, and will also be forced to rely more on income brought in from advertising.

The discontent about the bill resulted in thousands of broadcasters going on strike in late June.

Rima Abdul Malak, culture minister, said the government would protect public television and radio budgets while they build a plan for the future.

Socialist senator David Assouline told The Guardian: “The stakes are high in our society, where there is a large concentration of private channels and foreign platforms, meaning we must strengthen public broadcasting.”

He added the culture minister had “hailed the glory” of French public broadcasting yet was “creating the conditions for weakening it”.