The BBC is to launch a fightback against its critics by claiming that, far from being a drain on the licence feepayer and squandering millions on on-screen stars and behind-scenes apparatchiks, it in fact generates £7.6bn a year for the British economy.
Now I\’m perfectly happy to believe that an organisation as large as the BBC has spin off benefits. Even that there\’s a multiplier to their spending.
I\’m also absolutely certain that the report they commissioned from Deloittes will be full of the most basic economic howlers. It will entirely ignore opportunity costs for example. (What would be the multiplier effect if those billions in licence fee stayed in the pockets of the populace and fructified for example.)
But the bit that I\’ve got an extremely hard time believing is this:
The Guardian understands it concludes the licence fee generates £7.2bn for the UK economy by supporting the independent production sector and other parts of the \”creative economy\” – more than twice the value of the licence fee.
Why is the multiplier dependent upon how the BBC is financed? £3 billion cycled through a voluntary subscription scheme to be spent on TV and radio would have the same effect, wouldn\’t it? In fact, it should have a greater effect for being voluntary there would be no deadweight costs to it.
In short, \”big organisation has an effect on the economy\” seems fair. \”Big corporation must be financed by taxation\” doesn\’t.