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BBC is forced to fund Welsh language programming to ‘reduce licence fee by stealth’, claims David Dimbleby

13 Oct 2022 2 minute read
David Dimbleby on Question Time. Picture by the BBC

The BBC has been forced to fund Welsh language programming in order to reduce the licence fee “by stealth”, veteran BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby has claimed in a new book.

The 83-year-old former Question Time presenter said the corporation had been “cajoled” into taking on “unfunded obligations” instead of spending the money on other programmes and staff.

Responsibility for funding the Welsh language television channel S4C began to be transferred from the UK Government to the BBC’s licence fee in 2013.

David Dimbleby writes in a new book Keep Talking seen by the Times newspaper: “No government has yet had the gall overtly to cut the licence fee but it has been continually reduced by stealth.

“There are two ways of achieving this — one is simply not to increase it while inflation erodes its value. The other financial weapon politicians have used to damage the BBC is to place extra, unfunded obligations on it.

“In recent years, the BBC has been cajoled, persuaded or forced to fully fund new national language channels in Wales and Scotland for the minorities who speak Welsh and Gaelic.”

S4C is not a new national language channel, however, having launched 40 years ago from November this year.

“The licence-fee payer in a poor family is now paying for what the government used to fund,” David Dimbleby adds.

The UK Government announced earlier this year that S4C would receive £74.5m annual Licence Fee funding as well as £6.8m from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The UK Government also said that it would award S4C a further £7.5 million per annum from the licence fee to support its digital development, following a five-year funding freeze.

The Culture Secretary in charge of that announcement, Nadine Dorries, however resigned last month, with Michelle Donelan now in post.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Reading between the lines it is more likely that this is a way for the government, via the BBC, to have some influence over the content of Welsh language programming…

George Atkinson
George Atkinson
1 month ago

Basically a foreign government is running our one and only Welsh language channel.

Mawkernewek
1 month ago

How long will it be that S4C can retain its editorial independence before it is fully absorbed into the BBC?

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago

OH NO!! The BBC is “forced” to provide programming for Welsh speaking people who in turn are forced to pay a license fee to an English organisation that reviles them.

It’s not an “obligation” Dingleberry! It’s customer service. One might as easily say Welsh license fee payers are “forced” to fund inane Anglocentric nonsense like the Vicar of Dibley, the English Queen’s funeral coverage and The Tory Propaganda broadcast news.

You notice Dingleberry voices his opposition to “supporting” “minorities” as he sits in his grand house living off the accumulated license fee payments OF those “minorities”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
1 month ago

It’s the BBC, lighten up. Take responsibility, stop leaning on folks who don’t care about your language to do it for you, and start your own Welsh channel doing it your way, with your own rules. If you fail so what, do it again. Failure is the cost of freedom.

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago

Economically impossible for ultra minorities to operate in a culturally low brow UK so
de population. The lowest common denominator will ever prevail.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Is 3 million an ultra minority? It’s 20x the number who voted for LT to be PM of GBLand

Mawkernewek
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Radyo an Gernewegva has always operated on minimal or no budget, and I wouldn’t say its output is lowest common denominator.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago

Okay. Lightening up as ordered! Look >> 🙂
Thank you. So we can just stop paying the BBC because it will be in breach of contract then?
Hooray, life is so simple when you don’t think.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Whenever the subject of the Welsh language is discussed have you noticed how they like to use the word “forced”? They completely forget that the English language was “forced” on the Celtic nations and even went as far as beating children for speaking in Welsh.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

They also forgot that Welsh speakers are “forced” to help fund Eastenders, Top Gear and a whole lot of other English Language dross

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago

Of the many “minorities, it is the native species which are frowned upon.

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas
1 month ago

This is the man who once giggled as he referred to Cymraeg as “the incomprehensible tongue”

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Embittered David Dimbleby slyly omits how much money is spent on England using Welsh, Scottish & Northern Irish TV licence fees. The BBC receives around £4.943 billion in funding per annum which comes from the TV licence free, BBC studios & commercial ventures. With the majority of BBC programming is Anglocentric. The BBC like Whitehall feathers England’s nest first to the detriment of the other home nations. S4C only gets £88.85 million funding. Compare this to the billions spent in England with the numerous Network BBC stations, regional TV & radio stations hubs to what’s spent on to Welsh &… Read more »

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
1 month ago

I think several posters here feel DD is anti Welsh. I disagree. He’s stating fact. The BBC is an outstanding broadcaster and one of the 2 things that people overseas admire the UK for, along with the NHS. What used to be gov funded is now funded by the BBC so QED, its a big cut in their resources.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago
Reply to  Crwtyddol

Dingleberry IS anti-Welsh. But not exclusively anti-Welsh. He’s anti lots of things. Socialism, the poor, immigration, women’s rights. Basically, he is a Tory.

You think the BBC is STILL “admired” overseas? They’ve closed loads of their offices to save cost and other news agencies such as Al Jazeera and the excellent France 24 International have filled the gap and are now relied upon to be more neutral in their coverage than the BBC who broadcast an EXCLUSIVELY pro-capitalist, pro-Western biased output. (I am not anti-Western or anti-RESPONSIBLE-capitalism, but truth is more important than ideology)

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