Government launches root-and-branch BBC review

The government has launched a fundamental review of the BBC's size and purpose ahead of the debate on renewing the corporation's Royal Charter at the end of 2016.

The green paper will also what services and content the BBC should provide, its funding and how be regulated.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale MP, said the BBC had grown 'exponentially' in the past decade, and possibly should not attempt to be 'all things to all people'.

He also suggested a long-term shift to subscription funding, while in the short term the licence fee could be reformed to become more progressive, replaced by a household levy, or become a hybrid of different options.

Whittingdale said: "The BBC is at the very heart of Britain. It is one of this nation’s most treasured institutions—playing a role in almost all of our lives.

"We need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. Questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation."

It looks unlikely that non-payment of the TV Licence fee will be decriminalised in the near future, however, after David Perry QC's report recommended continuing the current system with only minor changes.

The BBC said: "The BBC is a creative and economic powerhouse for Britain. The starting point for any debate should be—how can a strong BBC benefit Britain even more at home and abroad?

"We believe that this green paper would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular, BBC. That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years."

The BBC will publish its response to the Green Paper, with its own recommendations, in September.

There will be a consultation on the Green Paper for 12 weeks, from today until October 8th, 2015, with the government bringing forward further proposals in Spring 2016.

DTG Staff  |  16.07.2015

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