Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

S4C could face real terms cuts as BBC licence fee due to be frozen for two years

16 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Nadine Dorries MP. UK Parliament. (CC 3.0).

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorris is due to announce a two-year freeze to the BBC license fee this week, which is likely to mean that Welsh language television channel S4C will also face real-terms cuts.

S4C’s public funding will be provided entirely through the licence fee from the 2022-23 financial year onwards, with all future funding decisions made as part of the BBC licence fee funding settlement.

The Welsh language channel might find itself a victim of Boris Johnson’s political woes, as the BBC license fee freeze is one of a number of measures to be announced this week to draw attention away from the scandal and throw red meat in the direction of wavering Conservatives MPs.

The UK Government has briefed that Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, intends to keep the license fee flat at £159 until April 2024, despite an expected big rise in inflation over the same period.

If there is no increase in the license fee, S4C’s share of that money is unlikely to rise also, leaving it facing possible cutbacks if inflation rises 5% as the Bank of England expects. If the license fee did rise in line with inflation it would be £175 in two years’ time.

The license fee agreement was due to be announced in the summer before Nadine Dorris took the culture brief in a reshuffle, and decided to revisit it. The decision due to be announced by the end of the month will come into effect from 1 April.

Nadine Dorris’ allies briefed the Daily Mail that “the days of state-run television are over” due to the corporations’ “left-leaning mindset,” suggesting that the license fee freeze may only be the start of cutbacks.

A source within the BBC told the Sunday Times that “anything less than inflation would put unacceptable pressure on the BBC finances after years of cuts.”

[midcontent-banner]

‘Intervention’

Campaign groups such as Cymdeithas yr Iaith have called for broadcasting to be devolved from Westminster to the Wales so that S4C can be funded from within the Welsh Government’s budget.

Last month, a Senedd report called for the Welsh Government to have a bigger say when the futures of the BBC and S4C in Wales are discussed by the UK Government.

The Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee said that the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport within the UK Government should include a representative from the Welsh Government when discussing the future of public service broadcasting in Wales.

The report says that the rules that govern the media need to change to ensure audiences in Wales “can watch content that reflects and informs their lives”.

Particular regard should be given to the need for intervention to ensure programming in the Welsh language, and content reflecting Wales in both languages, is safeguarded, they said.

“The negotiations on the funding settlement for Wales are an essential step to guarantee PSBs can continue to serve Welsh audiences by covering our shared cultural events and providing trusted news,” the report says.

“The Committee is calling for a seat at the table for a Welsh representative in the negotiations on the next licence fee settlement from 2022-2027. The role of this representative should also be included as standard for the next round of negotiations.”

The report also adds: “The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Public Service Broadcasting Advisory Panel should include representatives from the devolved administrations in their discussions on policy and legislative solutions to the challenges facing PSBs in the digital age.

“Particular regard should be given to the need for intervention to ensure programming in the Welsh language, and content reflecting Wales in both languages, is safeguarded.”

Responding in 2018 to the news that S4C would be funded entirely from the license fee, the BBC said that it was opposed to the move.

A spokesperson said that “the channel and its audiences are best served by a funding model based on a plurality of funding sources”.

In its last financial year, 2020-21, S4C received £74.5m from the BBC licence fee and £21.85m from the UK Government.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
8 months ago

I don’t see why a far right English government should be dictating to us how S4C is run. It would be better off if our government funded it because the tories want to wipe it out because they hate Wales and don’t want us to exist as a seperate entity.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

S4C is a hostage given that DCMS and BBC have the oversight on it. This won’t get sorted until there is a real Welsh government which operates free of the begging bowl relationship with London.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Totally agree the Welsh government should be able to levy taxes in Wales to fund Welsh culture. Sick of being dependent in Westminster.

The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
8 months ago

If people watched it advertising would fund it

The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
8 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

England isn’t allowed a government unlike Scotland and Wales because they know we could ask questions like “why are English taxpayers subsidising Wales and Scotland” you know like S4C 🙄

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
8 months ago

England has had a government for centuries. They simply incorporated Wales and Scotland in their set-up and renamed it “the British Government”. You’ll appreciate that our continued acceptance of this arrangement comes at a price?

Obviously it would be better for all concerned if we were not obliged to continue having to be roped into this one-sided political puppet show, as you suggest.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rhosddu
Andy
Andy
8 months ago

Licence fee, not license

Reginald Bowler
Reginald Bowler
8 months ago

Should S4C be funded from the Welsh government’s budget? Possibly. £80-90 million per year.

The licence fee for the bbc has to go, though.Why shoud people pay the bbc to watch other TV channels which are free, and get none of the licence payment? That’s wrong. Neither should the bbc licence fee be replaced by a general levy, e.g. on internet connections, council tax, or whatever.

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

Do you value your attention so lightly that you describe television funded by tedious, repetative, intrusive advertising as free?

defaid
defaid
8 months ago

Dorries.

Although Dorris does have the advantage of sounding very like Boris.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

S4C in airhead Nadine Dorries hands is a recipe for disaster. Broadcasting must be devolved to our Senedd Cymru.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Not just S4C all Welsh channels should be funded by Wales.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

How could the best part of 37% of the Welsh electorate vote Tory. Reading the comments on another Welsh newspaper swathes of them want the Senedd abolished. Can’t believe it.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

You’ve been misinformed.

The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
The Salfordian 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
8 months ago

Why the 🤬 are people being forced to subsidise Welsh broadcasting, if no one watches it then close

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

You, too, have been misinformed.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

I stand corrected it is 36.1 for the Tory party, 40.9 for Labour and 9.9 for Plaid.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

That’s pretty close, but at the last count it was actually Tories 31%, Welsh Labour 37%, and Plaid Cymru 15%. This is the most recent poll for the Westminster election.
The Senedd election most recent predictions are: Tories 27%, Welsh Labour 37%, Plaid Cymru 19%.
These figures are almost certain to change before the next election in both parliaments.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

The figures I quoted are for the last general election and are 100% correct. I think you are correct about them changing because polls are without question unreliable.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

Yes, those figures will definitely change in the next Senedd and UK elections. People are anticipating another Tory wipeout, but they may hang on two one or two in each.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

Yes, things will certainly change at the next Senedd and UK elections. We may well see another Tory wipeout, although it’s possible they will hang on to a few seats in both parliaments.

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

We have enough trolls already thankyou – find a proper hobby

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
8 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Its the same one – he’s sponsored according to how many troll accounts he can post under on here 😉

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

With a new fake name whenever there’s an ‘r’ in the month.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.