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License fee freeze ‘strengthens the case for the devolution of broadcasting’ says Mark Drakeford

18 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford on the Andrew Marr Show

The First Minister has said that the UK Government’s decision to freeze the license fee strengthens the case for the devolution of broadcasting.

Speaking in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said that it was clear that the UK Culture Secretary hadn’t given a “moment’s thought” to the impact of her decision on Wales.

Yesterday, Nadine Dorries said that the license fee will remain at £159 until 2024, meaning that the BBC will need to make cuts due to inflation. She also said that the license fee settlement would be the BBC’s last and a new funding model would be found from 2027 onwards.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price asked in the Senedd “isn’t now the time that we insist on our own voice, in our own nation, in broadcasting as in our democracy?”

Mark Drakeford replied: “Well, the absence of respect for Wales is clear within the UK Government. I’m sure, as Adam Price said, that Nadine Dorries hadn’t given a moment’s thought to the impact of her announcement on the Welsh language here in Wales.

“I saw what Professor Richard Wyn Jones said this morning about the future of the language in broadcasting and the importance of S4C, yes, of course, but also Radio Cymru, which is central to the use of the Welsh language here in Wales, and is so important to the future of the language too. In the co-operation agreement between ourselves and Plaid Cymru, we’ve already agreed that we should strengthen the case for devolving broadcasting, and establish an authority to help us, with others, along that journey.

“When we see the UK Government doing things such as what they’ve done, in haste and for solely political reasons, it does strengthen the case that we’ve set out already.”

‘Dead meat’

Mark Drakeford also said that the “rushed announcement by Twitter” was motivated by Boris Johnson’s troubles as Prime Minister.

“It is part of a ‘dead meat’ strategy that this Government has embarked upon,” he said.

“If anybody thinks that there is serious thinking that lies behind what has been announced, then I’m afraid they’re going to be very badly disappointed.

“What we do now know for sure is that, at a time when inflation, due to the mismanagement of the economy by the UK Government, is likely to be at 6 or 7 per cent in April, the BBC are going to see their budget cut significantly in real terms, and the most urgent need, I think, is for a coalition of support to defend public funding for public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom.”

Prof. Richard Wyn Jones, Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance, had on Sunday warned that the announcement was a threat to the futures of both S4C and Radio Cymru, which depended on the survival of public service broadcasting.

“More people in Wales consume public broadcasting than in any other part of the UK,” he wrote. “In terms of Welsh language broadcasting, BBC Radio Cymru and S4C are basically ‘it’ They are fundamental to the use and transmission of the language.

“Dorries’ announcement is an existential threat to the future of the Welsh language.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

If the freeze led to a cull of overpaid fat cats at the top of the BBC and a cut in the daft fees paid to celebrity presenters then I’d welcome it. However in true Tory fashion the bosses at the BBC will make sure that the pain is spread among the ranks of the real workers.

Last edited 6 months ago by hdavies15
I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
6 months ago

We should get ready for our own broadcasting system, whatever. Lots of good series available from throughout Europe Translators should be trained-up for subtitling in Cymraeg (good way to polish your Cymraeg) and English too.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

If there is a institution ideal for Cymru it is the EU, let’s get our country out of this fag end of the empire before it becomes a 1000 year reich since Edward the barbarian started the dismantling of our culture and our history

Dave
Dave
6 months ago

crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s well done Mark and Adam, if we work together Wales will prosper #IndyWales

Llyn expat
Llyn expat
6 months ago

Devolution of education was easy. A school in Wales follows the Welsh rules and the Welsh curriculum, and a school in England or Scotland follows the rules and the curriculum that is appropriate for that place. But what would the devolution of broadcasting to Wales actually look like? Would there be a Welsh supplement to the license fee, and if so, what would it fund? Or might the fee be reduced in Wales, and if so, would access to (for example) BBC iPlayer be limited from Welsh IP addresses (as it is from IP addresses outside the UK)? So far… Read more »

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
6 months ago
Reply to  Llyn expat

Np no no Welsh licence fee pays for all Welsh services.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
6 months ago

Licence-funded services don’t work for smaller-scale PBS, nor do subscription-based services. You primarily need Welsh Government funding, hence the need for the devolution of broadcasting.

Last edited 6 months ago by Wrexhamian
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
6 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Totally agree with the devolution of Welsh broadcasting. There should be no BBC.

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago

The correct spelling is “licence” when it’s a noun.

Andy
Andy
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

I posted a similar comment on another story earlier this week!

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

One argument to support the devolution of broadcasting was the way S4C was established in 1982. As a child of the 1980s I have to admit that I & many others were resentful towards the Welsh language, because we were not able to watch Channel Four. Back then, there was no internet, social media, streaming services, or even satellite tv, so not having access to one of the four analogue channels was a pretty big deal. In the Newport and Cardiff areas aerials were pointed towards Mendip (BBC West) and not Wenvoe, and in North Wales they were pointed towards… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

Although I agree with Mark Drakeford calls that broadcasting should be devolved, this in reality will never happen as Welsh Labour cannot even get the power to create St’ David’s Day a national bank holiday from these Conservative fascists let alone power over Welsh broadcasting. For Wales to get anything of substance from Whitehall must vote in a Nationalist Welsh Government and send like Scotland did an army of Nationalist MPs to Westminster to fight our cause. At present Wales Labour & Conservative MPs serve themselves and England first. Sadly Plaid Cymru can only do so much with their four… Read more »

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