The Government plans to extend a freeze in the cost of the TV licence for another five years, according to reports in today's Mail on Sunday.
The move, which could cost the BBC £300m in lost revenue, is set to be announced by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale MP, who has previously described the annual £145.50 fee as "worse than the poll tax".
If, as expected, plans are implemented to decriminalise TV licence fee evasion, the BBC could lose an additional £200m in revenue as more people simply refuse to pay the fee.
Talks are due to start soon between Mr Whittingdale and the BBC on renewing its current Royal charter, which ends in 2016 and sets the licence fee as well as deciding other aspects of how the BBC is run. During equivalent talks in 2010, the Coalition froze the fee for the current period.
The calls by Tory MPs to make non-payment of the TV licence fee a civil rather than a criminal offence are expected to be supported later this month by a Government-backed report by barrister David Perry QC.
In recent months BBC executives have been falling over themselves trying to defend the unique way the Corporation is funded.
Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television, has said that a continued freeze in the TV licence fee could put future productions at risk.
A Whitehall insider is quoted as saying: "All public services are being asked to make big savings and there can be no case for exempting the BBC, particularly when so much of what it does can be provided by the private sector".