Tory MP who claimed ‘I subsidise Wales’ insists he doesn’t want Welsh radio stations to be scrapped
A Tory MP who claimed “I subsidise Wales” has insisted he does not want Welsh radio stations to be scrapped.
Michael Fabricant, who represents the constituency of Lichfield, made the claim while arguing that the BBC should ditch some of its regional radio stations.
He said that they are “expensive to run” and that their audience figures tended to be “very low”.
But he said he was “not talking about stations like BBC Radio Wales and Cymru” because they’re “national stations”.
During an interview on Radio Wales Breakfast with Claire Summers, the Conservative politician made the case for scrapping the licence fee.
Claire Summers asked: “So, what should they do then? If it’s not a licence fee, how can the BBC, how should they be funded?”
Fabricant replied: “Good question, and maybe it should be a combination of several things. Perhaps take advertising on Radio 1 and 2. I do sometimes wonder whether some of these very small BBC local radio stations, which are quite expensive to run, and I’m not talking about stations like BBC Radio Wales and Cymru, and BBC Scotland and BBC Ulster. They’re nation stations.
“But some of these small country stations, I just wonder whether they really are value for money. Their audience levels tend to be very low, and they’re very costly as I said, now to run. So there’s a whole series of things and maybe things should be paid for on a streaming basis.
“I think there’s all sorts of areas where you could have combinations to try to keep the compulsory licence fee down a bit”.
During the interview Fabricant suggested that there was one BBC Radio Wales programme in particular that he is happy to “subsidise”.
He revealed that he is a fan of Sunday Supplement, and he described his presenter Vaughan Roderick as a “top rate broadcaster”.
Fabricant has previously come under fire for his “I subsidise Wales” claim.
He made the claim during an attack on the measures that have been taken in Wales to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General, Mick Antoniw has accused the Conservative politician of telling the people of Wales to “know your place”.
He also said that the “Tories are clearly rattled and trying to divert attention from their disastrous government in Westminster”.
Welsh comedian Mike Bubbins said: “Mike, I know Wales is already swimming in cash, but any chance your charitable chums at Westminster could pay Cymru for all the coal, slate, copper & gold it nicked for hundreds of years? Should only be a couple of trillion in today’s money. We’ll sort the water out later. Diolch.”
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