BBC licence fee settlement
Responding to today’s announcement of a new licence fee settlement for the BBC, Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, said:
"This is a tough settlement, but it’s also a settlement that delivers certainty and stability for the BBC and licence fee payers through to 2016/17. It reflects the centrality of the licence fee in securing and safeguarding public service broadcasting. We recognise the importance of securing such a settlement at such an unprecedented time.
“There is no doubt that the settlement will present us with some difficult choices, but importantly, these choices will remain firmly in the hands of the BBC Trust and we will of course seek the views of licence fee payers.”
The settlement will keep the licence fee at its current level of £145.50 until 2016/17. Under the settlement the television licence fee will fund the World Service and the BBC will make a contribution to funding S4C through a partnership.
Sir Michael added:
"Having considered the details and the circumstances carefully, the Trust believes that this settlement, which reaffirms the corporation’s operational and editorial independence, is in the best interests of licence fee payers who will continue to benefit from the high quality services they expect from the BBC.
"It brings with it new obligations for the BBC. But importantly they are all obligations that are relevant to the BBC’s mission and purpose – to be a public service broadcaster of the highest quality that serves all audiences.
"In particular the new arrangements will ensure that the World Service remains a vibrant, independent service that brings impartial news to people around the world, while strengthening the BBC’s ability to bring international news to UK licence fee payers.
"The settlement also seeks to secure the long term future of broadcasting in the Welsh language through the extension of a partnership with S4C.
"The BBC is not government funded, but these are pressing times for the nation as a whole, and we believe licence fee payers would expect us to see what contribution we can properly make.
“The extra responsibilities the BBC will now take on are consistent with this and will deliver benefits to licence fee payers across the UK.”
BBC Director General Mark Thompson said:
“This is a realistic deal in exceptional circumstances securing a strong independent BBC for the next six years. It means that efficiency and reform will continue to be key issues for us. But our focus remains providing distinctive, high quality programmes valued by the public. This deal will safeguard that until 2017.”
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