Wales politics

Extend S4C funding freeze due to review delay, MPs say

S4C news programme Newyddion 9
Image caption S4C news programme Newyddion 9

MPs have called on the UK government not to cut its funding of Welsh language channel S4C.

In February 2016 ministers said funding would stay at £6.7m in 2016-17, whilst S4C's remit and funding was reviewed.

MPs urged ministers to drop plans to cut their contribution to £6.1m as the review had not yet begun.

Culture Minister Matt Hancock said secretary of state Karen Bradley was considering the matter. Most of S4C's £80m budget comes from the licence fee.

The Wales Office does not expect the investigation to be completed until the end of 2017.

During a Westminster debate on Wednesday, Mr Hancock said the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's contribution to S4C's budget was currently set to fall to £6.1m in 2017-18.

"We are aware of commitments given by our predecessor [ex-Culture Secretary John Whittingdale] around timing - and this is an issue the secretary of state [Karen Bradley] is currently considering," he said.

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams, who called the debate on S4C's future, said: "It is absolutely right that a review takes place to ensure that it has the funding necessary to fulfil its remit and strategy over the longer term.

"The comprehensive review into S4C announced in February last year, by the former secretary of state, along with a reversal of a cut, prior to the outcome of the review, was welcome.

"But we are now in 2017 and still waiting for a promised review, and there is cross-party concern about the delay."

Mr Hancock said there would be an announcement about the review "shortly" and promised that it would be chaired by someone with "a thorough understanding of Wales and an interest in the Welsh language".

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