Government ‘really open-minded’ on future of BBC funding, says culture minister
The UK government is “really open-minded” about the BBC funding model, said Culture Minister Julia Lopez.
In January, the Conservative government – which has waged a years-long campaign against the broadcaster – confirmed plans to scrap the license fee in 2027 and cut BBC funding. It was later revealed that this would force the BBC to cut £2.5billion over next five yearsalthough general manager Tim Davie later said he was “open-minded” about its future source of funding.
Echoing those sentiments, the Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure appeared before the Lords Communications and Digital Committee and said: ‘The Government is genuinely open-minded about the right model and we are looking for someone to bring up the choices open to any government on the right way to fund the BBC and we are doing this before 2027 so that when we look at what we are looking at what the BBC achieves after 2027 we have an idea of the best way to fund that will be.”
She described the current license fee setup as “regressive” that Britons “pay the same regardless” of the circumstances.
The minister, addressing the Lords as part of an ongoing inquiry into future funding for the BBC, also said administering license fees is “also quite expensive… so any model must seek to trying to overcome some of the shortcomings of the existing model.”
Lopez said the government expects to select an independent reviewer to review the funding model before the Commons breaks for its summer recess, and a decision would be made “as part of the charter review process. “.
The minister was also asked about the government’s plans to privatize Channel 4 despite only 14% of Britons support the decision.
On this, Lopez said: ‘As Ministers we have a responsibility to look at a whole range of issues and the fundamental question we are looking at in relation to Channel 4 was what is the best thing for sustainability of the public service broadcasting sector… and we have come to the conclusion that the way Channel 4 has been structured is a future obstacle to its commercial success.
“The government is always within its right to have a point of view different from that expressed by the majority to those who responded to a consultation.”