Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice

National Audit Office report: The BBC’s preparedness for digital switchover

A statement from Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts:

The BBC is using an enormous amount of licence fee money to inform the public about digital switchover and assist vulnerable groups. It must do more to protect the interests of licence fee payers who will fund the £200 million marketing campaign for digital switchover and the £600 million help scheme for vulnerable groups and to secure the value for money of this huge amount of expenditure.

While it is still early days in the programme, protracted periods of bad weather (like we had last summer) or signal interference could put the programme at risk. The BBC will need to work constructively with Government, its contractors and Digital UK to secure successful switchover by 2012.

Today’s report is the first under a new arrangement whereby the National Audit Office can engage more actively with the BBC Trust in selecting areas of the BBC for audit. But it continues to be an affront that the National Audit Office is restricted in the extent to which it can report to Parliament on the BBC’s use of public money. Why should the massively well-rewarded mandarins of the BBC and their obscenely overpaid presenters get off scot-free  from Parliamentary scrutiny of the £3 billion or so of licence fee payers’ money spent each year?


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