Culture Secretary announces £7.5m ‘extra’ for S4C but long term future is unclear
The UK Government’s Culture Secretary has announced £7.5 million extra for S4C, but its long term future looks unclear.
Nadine Dorries made the announcements in the House of Commons, where she revealed that the fee will remain at £159 until 2024 and then rise in line with inflation for the following four years.
According to the UK Government, S4C’s settlement will consolidate S4C’s current £74.5m annual Licence Fee funding with its current £6.8m annual DCMS grant income.
It says it will also award S4C a further £7.5 million per annum from the Licence Fee to support its digital development. This follows a five-year funding freeze.
In total, this will provide S4C with approximately £88.8 million in Licence Fee funding per annum, the UK Government says, which will rise in line with increases to the Licence Fee linked to inflation after the second year of the settlement period.
The new funding regime will come into effect from 1 April 2022, with the settlement continuing until 31 March 2027. It remains unclear how S4C will be funded after the licence fee comes to an end.
Responding to the Secretary of State’s announcement, S4C Chair Rhodri Williams said: “This settlement reflects the faith of the DCMS, and the Secretary of State Nadine Dorries, in S4C’s vision for the next five years. Given the economic climate, this financial settlement, which comes after months of negotiation between the channel and the Government, provides a good basis for S4C to plan for the next period.
“We thank the Secretary of State and her officials for a constructive and positive process that has shown support for S4C’s ambition. We are also grateful to the Secretary of State for Wales, members of Parliament, members of the Senedd, members of the House of Lords and a large number of organisations, associations and friends across Wales who supported our cause. Showing that there is cross-party support throughout Wales strengthened S4C’s case as we submitted our application to the DCMS.
S4C’s Chief Executive, Siân Doyle, said “This is great news for S4C’s audience in Wales and beyond. In light of the announcement we will now work carefully to implement our plans for 2022-27.
“We’ll look to see how we can transform our S4C Clic player, ensuring the wider distribution of our content on digital platforms, and improving our visibility on smart TVs. All of this reflects the change in the way people watch content and television programmes.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The BBC is a great national institution with a unique place in our cultural heritage. It broadcasts British values and identities all over the world and reaches hundreds of millions of people every day.
“But at a time when families are facing a sharp increase in their living costs we simply could not justify asking hard-working households to pay even more for their TV licence.
“This is a fair settlement for the BBC and for licence fee payers. The BBC must support people at a time when their finances are strained, make savings and efficiencies, and use the billions in public funding it receives to deliver for viewers, listeners and users.”
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