Former Welsh Secretary suggests cut to licence fee would help the BBC

18 Nov 2021 2 minutes Read
Alun Cairns. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

A former Welsh Secretary has suggested that a cut to the licence fee would help the BBC.

Alun Cairns, the Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, told House of Commons that a reduction in the public broadcaster’s budget could be a way of “facilitating innovation”.

The BBC has recently reported on calls for an investigation into how a Welsh company that hired Alun Cairns as a senior paid advisor secured a UK government contract.

This follows a series of reports by Nation.Cymru on the former Welsh Secretary’s second jobs.

During a debate in the House of Commons, Alun Cairns asked: “What plans she has for the future of the BBC licence fee?”

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, replied: “The Government have committed to maintaining the licence fee funding model for the duration of the charter period. Ahead of the next charter review process, we will undertake a detailed look at the TV licence model to ensure that it is fit for the future.”

Cairns said: “I warmly welcome the encouraging comments made by the Secretary of State, publicly and in the Chamber, on the BBC. There is the potential to cut or at least freeze the licence fee. It raises over £3.5 billion a year, much of which is used to create quality broadcasts.

“However, significant sums are used to squeeze out competition from the independent sector.

“This is the most regressive form of taxation, akin to the poll tax, so does she agree that a freeze or a cut would be not only a welcome boost to hard-pressed families, but a way of facilitating innovation within the BBC and encouraging competition from outside, creating a much more dynamic broadcast provision?”

‘Value for money’

Dorries replied: “I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. My priority is to secure a settlement that delivers value for money for those hard-pressed constituents and for the licence fee payer, while making sure that the BBC can continue to provide those very high-quality services to which he just referred.

“I have been having constructive discussions with the BBC and I believe that we are close to reaching an agreement. I hope he understands that I am unable to comment further while negotiations are taking place and are ongoing.”

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Grayham Jones
9 days ago

Wales should have its one news not English news we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 days ago

A cut in Tory MPs to zero would be more preferable. Now that’s real levelling-up for Wales.

Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
9 days ago

They are so daft if the BBC is scrapped a cornerstone of Britishness will be gone

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
9 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thomas

Great news we are not on the union jack flag also not on the royal standard freedom for Wales rock on

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
9 days ago

BBC news in the morning I’ve noticed that the Welsh news and Welsh wether is only given one minute and therty seconds not mutch parity there and they are not covering mutch Welsh live sports not like England they cover nearly every sport stop paying your EBC licence OPS BBC licence

5 days ago

I thought the BBC already had an agreement with government? You know the kind of thing……. Johnson takes another mid crisis holiday and the BBC prioritises news about under threat Salamander habitat.

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