The price of a television licence is set to soar to #180 unless the Government takes action to keep costs down, a Midland peer has warned.
Lord Fowler (Con), the former MP for Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, said viewers were being forced to pay for the creation of new digital channels.
He chaired a House of Lords inquiry into the way the BBC is managed and its relationship with the Government.
Under the BBC's current plans, the cost of a licence will rise from #126.50 to #180 in eight years time, Lord Fowler warned.
This would raise more than #4.25 billion every year from the public.
But the BBC needs the money because the Government plans to make it pay for the radio airspace used to broadcast its programmes, which it currently gets for free.
The change is a result of the introduction of digital television, which has seen the BBC's television output increase from BBC1 and BBC2 to include BBC3, BBC4, two children's channels, a 24-hour news channel and a channel dedicated to Parliament.
Furthermore, the Government has told the BBC it must pay the costs of helping elderly people and disabled people with the digital switchover.
The inquiry also criticised the #400 million cost of moving of a number of BBC departments, including Radio Five Live, internet services and children's television, from London to Manchester.
It should be possible to make the move at much less cost, Lord Fowler said.
He said: "What is also clear is that the Government are now beginning to use the licence fee as a tax.
"The substantial cost of helping the elderly and disabled with digital switchover should not be a cost picked up by the licence fee payer.
"The Government rightly takes on the responsibility for providing free licences for the over-75s and fund it from general taxation. It should do the same with help for switchover."
Parliament should approve future increases in the licence fee, he said.
"There is an overwhelming case for licence fee increases to be properly scrutinised by Parliament with the assistance of the National Audit Office."
The Lords committee also proposed that the BBC conduct a full scale review of its international services.
BBC World, a television news channel broadcast worldwide, has lost #80 million since 1999.
BBC director of policy Caroline Thomson said the BBC needed to raise money for its digital services.
She said: "The Government has asked us to do this. We have accepted their request. It was not a mistake.
"The BBC has an interest in digital switchover working for everyone. If we are about anything, we are about making digital Britain work universally.
"In the end it is up to the Government how it wants to fund it. If it is funded from taxation or the licence fee, it's still the general public paying it."
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the BBC would play a "leading role" in the digital switchover.
"It's therefore right that the licence fee should play a role in making this happen."
Hugo Swire, shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, said: "Anyone who is struggling with council tax increases, or higher gas and electricity bills, will be worried at the thought of a #180 licence fee."