Friday, 27 August 2010

38 Degrees and the BBC Cuts

38 Degrees seem to be all for maintaining huge outdated monoliths that swallow huge amounts of tax payer's cash.  They recently ran a campaign about protecting the BBC from cuts and licence fee reform.  You can see the campaign here and they even provide a handy template letter you can email off to your MP.

I made use of their template, with a few "adjustments" and the other day I got a response from MP (below).  While not offering quite the savage hacking of the BBC I was hoping for, it does at least look like there are plans to make some changes to the lumbering beast at least!

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the future of the BBC.

I can fully appreciate the points you have raised about the current licence fee to the BBC, particularly if you do not use the services they provide.

I believe that the BBC can and should be doing more to ensure value for money for all licence fee payers who, of course, may not all choose to listen or view.  To this end, the Government will give the National Audit Office full access to the BBC's accounts to ensure transparency.  I believe that this will make the BBC work harder to achieve value for money.  I would also like to see the BBC be subject to the Freedom of Information act to ensure their spending is transparent.

As Jeremy Hunt has also made clear, the Government will be discussing the future of BBC funding with the Corporation in detail during the licence fee settlement and BBC Charter Renewal.  One of the issues that the Government has made clear needs to be addressed is the lack of transparency surrounding pay for top executives and highly paid stars.

The substantial charges in the TV, radio and online platforms do present significant issues for the BBC and in the long run, I doubt the Licence Fee is sustainable given the increased competition and plurality of supply, but the Government has no plans to change it at the current time.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Nigel Mills MP

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