"The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service" report findings will be the subject of a Commons Debate this week. This will be the first debate in the House on a substantive motion by a departmental select committee relating to a major issue of public concern since the introduction of the new arrangements for backbench business.
The debate will take place in the Chamber at approximately 1.30pm on Thursday 19 May. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Richard Ottaway MP, will be the Member in charge. The motion has been supported by the Chairs of the Defence, International Development, Treasury, Home Affairs, Culture, Media and Sport and Environmental Audit Select Committees, and by the former Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw MP.
The debate will focus on the findings of a report by the Foreign Affairs Committee into the cuts to the BBC World Service imposed as part of the Government's Spending Review. The Committee considered that the unfolding events in North Africa and the Middle East demonstrated the continuing importance of the soft power wielded through the World Service and concluded that the value of the World Service far outweighed its small cost. The motion tabled invites the Government to review its decision to cut World Service spending by 16 per cent by the end of the Spending Review period.
In advance of the debate, the Committee has put into the public domain the Government's response to its report, together with a response from the BBC and a letter to the Committee from the Secretary of State for International Development. These documents are published as an annex to the Committee’s Second Special Report of Session 2010-12 (PDF 162 KB) (HC 1058), published at 3.00 pm on Tuesday 17 May.