In a major departure from usual government policy, the BBC has been given the green light to raise the annual TV licence fee by 'considerably more than inflation', according to a highly placed government source.
It is understood that high level negotiations between the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Twunt, and the BBC management board have taken place, following news that almost 200 of Jimmy Savile's victims are to sue the BBC for compensation.
A government source told us, "The BBC has been told that it and it alone, is responsible for the God awful mess it finds itself in. It seems everybody and their cat knew what Savile was up to, except the BBC management board that is. Now, it seems, they are going to pay dearly for their supposed ignorance. No further funding is available from government budgets and they have been told to explore alternative streams of income."
A BBC spokesman confirmed, "It is hard to put a figure on the likely cost of litigation surrounding the Savile case. However, initial estimates by our bean counters suggest an appropriate level for next year's licence fee is likely to be in the region of £6,251.75p, rising by three times the rate of inflation annually for the following decade. Whilst this may sound like a lot of money, the alternative is that our programming will consist entirely of Albanian soap operas, Russian talent shows and German stand-up comedy."
In a late announcement on Monday night, the BBC confirmed that the production of Panorama and all other current affairs programmes will cease forthwith. In a move to cut costs, these have now been syndicated to the Chinese government controlled China Central Television.