Lords debates BBC's future

11 September 2015

Members of the House of Lords, including leading broadcasters, producers and a BBC trustee, debated developments regarding the future financing and independence of the BBC on Thursday 10 September.

Members highlighted the BBC as an important social, educational and cultural national institution that is admired across the world and is an important UK soft power tool.

Mismanagement of some events and high rewards for star presenters and managers were criticised, but members argued that BBC independence and sustained funding are crucial for its survival.

Some members said that the BBC was an independent body, not part of the public sector, and shouldn't be subjected to the government's programme of cuts. Some particularly criticised the government's 'over 75s deal' with the BBC, arguing the BBC was forced to cover the cost of free licences for over 75s without consultation or debate.

Government spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative) welcomed the debate and its timeliness relatively early on in the consultation on BBC charter review. She said that the BBC was the most celebrated broadcaster in the world but that it had to find its place in the new media landscape and improve.

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