‘Cut’ to BBC funding will have ‘serious consequences’ for Welsh broadcasting
The “real-terms cut” to the BBC’s funding will have “serious consequences” for Welsh broadcasting, a Plaid Cymru MP has warned.
Ben Lake, his party’s spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has responded to the Culture Secretary’s announcement on funding for the BBC and S4C, saying that it “casts doubt” on their “future”
Nadine Dorries confirmed that the BBC’s licence fee will be frozen for two years, which Plaid Cymru say represents a severe real-terms cut in the corporation’s funding.
She also announced an extra £7.5m from 2022 for S4C’s digital services, but Plaid Cymru argue that it “cannot offset” cuts elsewhere.
Ben Lake said in the House of Commons that “the corporation provides around £20m of S4C programming annually” as well as radio and digital output, meaning that the BBC’s contribution to Welsh language public broadcasting will diminish.
He said that Ms Dorries “completely failed to address” his point in the Commons.
The Ceredigion MP added that the only way to secure a “healthy media landscape” in Wales is to “devolve broadcasting to the Senedd as soon as possible.”
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ben Lake MP said: “It was pleasing to hear the Secretary of State claim that she recognises the importance of Welsh language broadcasting, but she then proceeded to announce a real-terms cut to the BBC’s settlement, a settlement of course that provides around £20m of S4C programming annually, in addition to Welsh language services on Radio Cymru, Radio Cymru 2 and BBC Cymru Fyw.
“Could the Secretary of State therefore explain how a real-terms cut to the BBC’s settlement will not see a reduction in its important contribution to Welsh language services?”
In her response, Nadine Dorries repeated that S4C will see a funding increase.
Speaking after the session, Mr Lake added: “Today’s announcement casts doubt on the future vitality of Welsh public broadcasting. Make no mistake – the real-terms cut to the BBC settlement will have serious consequences for Welsh language public broadcasting, as well as English-language Welsh news and programming.
“The Secretary of State completely failed to address this point in the Commons today. The real-terms cut to the BBC’s overall settlement will inevitably have repercussions on the programming it provides S4C, and hinders its ability to fund important services such as Radio Cymru. An increase in funding for S4C’s digital output cannot offset that cut.
“It is clearer than ever that if we want a healthy media landscape in Wales, the only way forward is to devolve broadcasting to the Senedd as soon as possible.”
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