BBC Charter Review

Thank you for contacting me about the review of the BBC’s Charter.

I am pleased that the summary of responses to the Government’s consultation on the BBC’s Charter have now been published. The responses demonstrated that the majority of people value all of some of the services offered by the BBC, a position which is shared by myself and my colleagues in Government. There is a strong case that the BBC needs to be more distinctive, which the Director-General of the BBC said himself when he set out his plans for the Charter Renewal. I would like to see it compete less with online media and with local press, which damages regional newspapers such as our own in Newark. I would to see it concentrate on what it does best today and not prevent new commercial entrants who can offer innovative programmes and technology. I want to see it dramatically cut out waste, bureaucracy and excessive salaries for executives and ‘stars’ and behave like our public services, being extremely carful as to how public money is spent. And I would like to see the licence fee decriminalised as the present position clogs up our courts and makes criminals out of those, invariably on low incomes, who are late payers – when comparable services use normal civil procedures to collect debts.

As technology changes the way we access entertainment and news beyond all recognition and many use new services subscription services such as Sky or Netflix, it is only a matter of time before the public wish the BBC to adopt such a model. I would like to see a direction of travel set for the BBC to work towards being a subscription service over many years – more than the present licence period.

The Government will be announcing its proposals in due course, and I look forward to hearing more about them.
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