LONDON — The BBC will have to pay £740 million ($1.21 billion) over the next four years into its employee pension scheme, which has accumulated a $3.27 billion deficit.
The U.K. pubcaster, which had previously said the pension shortfall would be $614 million, will take the money from the amount raised from the license fee, which all Brit TV viewers are forced to pay, according to a report in the Guardian.
The BBC has opted not to up employee contributions to the pension scheme in a bid to avoid the industrial action that followed reforms to the scheme in 2010.
The pension deficit has almost doubled from $1.8 billion in 2010 due to the economic downturn and longer life expectancy.
“External factors have caused the BBC’s pension deficit to increase significantly since 2010, but without recent reforms to staff benefits the BBC would now be facing an even bigger problem,” said a spokesman for the BBC Trust, which is the organization’s governing body.
“Before approving the BBC’s new funding plan, the trust considered the various options and set parameters around what would be acceptable given our responsibility to license fee payers. We concluded that this plan provides the best solution because it addresses the shortfall in an affordable and manageable way.”