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Thursday 21 October 2010, 12:58
Yesterday the Chancellor George Osborne unveiled details of the Spending Review in the House of Commons. Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust responded to the announcement of a new licence fee settlement in a statement that was published on the Trust website. In an interview on Radio 4's The Media Show, Sir Michael told Steve Hewlett that the Foreign Office would still have a say over the scale of World Service operations, even though it would no longer fund them and added "the BBC has complete editorial freedom in this."
In response to the announcements that the licence fee will be frozen for six years, the corporation's budget cut by 16% and made to fund services including BBC World Service and the Welsh-language TV channel, S4C, BBC Director General, Mark Thompson told BBC staff in an email that "This is a realistic deal in exceptional circumstances securing a strong independent BBC for the next six years." The Guardian reports that Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North said it's "an exceptional settlement and it's going to be difficult for the BBC but it's difficult for everyone in the whole UK economy." In a report by The Independent, former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is quoted as saying that the changes are an 'act of cultural and political vandalism.'
A BBC News Wales story reports that S4C plans to launch a judicial review of the decision to transfer responsibility for its funding to the BBC, the chairman John Walter Jones said it was "effectively" a merger and would be "disastrous" for viewers. But Mark Thompson said the arrangement would help safeguard Welsh language broadcasting and broadcasting minister Ed Vaizey said the deal gave S4C "a fantastic future" and that the channel might be able to save on administration and take advantage of the BBC's "expertise".
Today in the Telegraph, Neil Midgley argues that the BBC has "good reasons to celebrate (having) secured the BBC's income for a full six years and effectively escaped from political interference". Dan Sabbagh on Beehive City concludes that "there are results for Thompson and Lyons too. The Trust is still in charge as before. There is no political requirement on the BBC to cut stars' pay. And, above all, the licence fee funding model is securely in place until 2017".
You can read more stories about how the BBC is effected by the Spending Review in the About the BBC bookmarks.
Laura Murray is the Editor of the About the BBC Blog
Wednesday 20 October 2010, 14:09
Thursday 21 October 2010, 13:10