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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Cohen: All BBC Channels Facing Cuts

The BBC's Director of Television has warned that all of its channels face cuts as a result of the Government's new funding deal.

Danny Cohen told Broadcast Magazine that, despite earlier rumours about their future, BBC Two and BBC Four were safe for now, but cuts across the board would be inevitable.

The Government recently brokered a deal with the BBC, whereby the national broadcaster will be forced to shoulder the £650m annual cost of providing "free" TV licences to the over-75s. In an effort to appease the BBC, the Government also took the unexpected decision to life a freeze on the TV licence fee. The £145.50 cost of a TV licence will now rise in line with the CPI rate of inflation from 2017.

"I wouldn't say BBC Two is under threat. All of the channels are going to have to think hard about how they save money, but BBC2 is a very important service which will continue," Cohen said.

Asked if any BBC services would be immune from cost-cutting, he added: "All of the channels will have to have some cuts, there’s no doubt about that... If you’ve got to save £150m by 2017/18, some of that has got to come out of television."

The Government is still considering proposals for the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion, although the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale MP, recently indicated that the TV licence fee would continue for the foreseeable future.


Ray Turner said...

As usual, managers charged with saving money look to cut front-line services rather than make savings within their own ranks.

Anonymous said...

It’s not the BBC that will be shouldering the £650m annual fee for the over 75s, it’s the other people paying the TV Tax. Curious that the government wants the BBC to be effectively part of the Department for Work & Pensions. Also curious why the government thinks it’s reasonable for TV licence tax payers to help fund broadband rollout, the World Service and the BBC Monitoring service. The government is just using the TV licence tax as a cash cow which keeps on giving whilst enabling the BBC to act as a protection racket using harassment, extortion and wire fraud to keep the cash coming in.

John Whittingdale is in a curious position. He has completely changed his tune since becoming Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and no longer proposes decriminalisation or abolition of the TV licence tax. So after his stint in the government he’s aiming for a senior position in the BBC and then a seat in the House of Lords. In the meantime it’s George Osborne who’s calling the shots—and he doesn’t want to rock the electorate or the establishment either so that he will be the next Prime Minister when David Cameron moves on. The whole thing is totally morally corrupt—I’m surprised that anyone chooses to buy a TV licence in view of this stinking barrel of fish.