Entertainment & Arts

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt asks for BBC 'discipline'

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Media captionJeremy Hunt: "The BBC has to live on the same planet as everyone else"

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he will ask the BBC to show "discipline" to ensure it provides better value for money in future.

Mr Hunt said he could not rule out a reduction in the licence fee, adding, the BBC "has to live on the same planet as everyone else".

Recent rows over executive pay had been mishandled, he agreed.

Director General Mark Thompson has said senior management at the corporation will be reduced by at least a fifth.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday, Mr Thomson added: "That's a minimum. If we can go further, we will."

On Saturday, Mr Hunt said the BBC "have to understand the rest of government, apart from the NHS and international development, is looking at average cuts of 25%."

Referring to the scandal of MPs' expenses, he said: "Why do I know that in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years' time no MP will ever try and claim for a duckhouse? I know that because all expenses claims are going to be made public."

He said the public wanted more transparency.

"I will be asking the BBC what are the disciplines that they are putting into place to make sure that on a permanent basis they will be getting better value," he said.

Mr Hunt said there had been no discussions with the BBC about the future level of the licence fee but added: "Of course I can't rule out the BBC licence fee being cut".

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