The BBC is set to argue for the licence fee to be linked to inflation when it enters licence fee negotiations next year.

The recommendation, which would end the current freeze on the BBC’s funding, was made in an internal report overseen by director of strategy and digital James Purnell.

A 12-strong task force, understood to include analyst Alice Enders and former Channel 5 boss David Elstein, examined how the licence fee should be structured as the BBC progresses towards its centenary in 2022.

As well as recommending an inflationary increase to the current licence fee settlement of £145.50 per household, it said the BBC’s funding should be topped up by increased commercial funding through BBC Worldwide.

The disclosure comes after The Sunday Times reported that the BBC report advocated a subscription-based licence fee model. The newspaper report also said Purnell’s review recommended freezing the licence fee until 2022.

The BBC denied this was the case. A spokesman said: “The report recommends that the BBC pursue an inflationary licence fee increase with greater commercial revenue. No subscription model is recommended.”

Decriminalising licence fee

The news came after justice secretary Chris Grayling mooted the idea of decriminalising failure to the pay licence fee and instead make it a civil matter.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller agreed “decriminalisation of the licence fee should be on the table” during the BBC’s charter renewal.

Grayling said the idea would help reduce pressure on the courts, although it is unlikely to be unpopular with the BBC, which would strongly oppose anything that leads to an increase in licence fee evasion.

A BBC spokesman said: “Legislation is a matter for the government, however changing the law could lead to higher evasion.

“Just a 1% increase in evasion would lead to the loss of around £35m, the equivalent of around 10 BBC local radio stations.”

In 2012 about 155,000 people were convicted and fined for not paying the licence fee.