BBC Consultation

I believe the BBC is one of our greatest cultural institutions.

The Government has launched a consultation on the BBC's Charter Review, which it states will explore possible change to the BBC's mission, purpose and values; its scale and scope; its funding; and its governance. The consultation will run until 8 October 2015.

I want the BBC to continue to contribute to our cultural life while delivering value for money. I support its impartiality and believe in a BBC that provides something for everybody. I also believe the licence fee should be maintained.

The Coalition Government put the consultation process for BBC Charter renewal on hold until the general election. I was very concerned by reports, soon after the election, that the current Government intends to go to war with the BBC and the recent actions that the Government has taken certainly indicate that the BBC is under siege.

As I am sure you are aware, the Government has already confirmed the BBC will take on the cost of free TV licences for over-75s. I am concerned these changes will lead to cuts in jobs, services and quality. It is disappointing these changes were agreed without transparency or consultation. I am also concerned that the advisory panel appointed by the Government for the duration of the charter review process is made up of a number of people with direct financial interests in the BBC's commercial competitors.

During the last Parliament, as Chair of the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale called for the BBC to reduce provision in areas where the market could offer those services. I am concerned he believes the BBC should not be producing popular entertainment but should only provide what the market would fail to deliver. This would lead to a system where some of the most popular BBC services were at risk.

We must await the outcome of the consultation on Charter review but I hope the Government will recognise that the BBC delivers high-quality services and programmes for everyone in the country. I believe the BBC must be adequately funded to continue as a major source of information, education and entertainment. 

Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I can assure you that I will oppose any attempts by the Government to undermine or diminish the BBC.

Below is the response I received from DCMS Minister Ed Vaizey on the BBC Consultation:

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Catherine West MP

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