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18th October 2016 - ‘Government’s draft BBC charter and agreement is rushed’ says Islwyn MP

‘Government’s draft BBC charter and agreement is rushed’ says Islwyn MPThe MP for Islwyn, Chris Evans, has said that the draft BBC Charter and Agreement has been hastily put together and poorly thought through by the government during a debate in Parliament.

The draft Charter and Agreement requires that BBC Radio increase competitive tendering to 60% by 2022, an increase of 8% per year from 2017. The BBC Trust’s preliminary verdict on the proposals say there are “clear risks to public value if competition is extended too quickly given the still limited scale of the radio supply market.” 

Currently the BBC voluntarily commissions 20% of its national radio content from independent entities. The ‘Compete or Compare’ strategy launched by BBC Director-General Tony Hall in 2014 makes clear the BBC’s commitment to commission the best programmes for audiences, regardless of who makes them.

The BBC, which is governed by a Royal Charter which expires on December 31st this year. A new Charter and Agreement between the BBC and the government is due to take effect for 11 years from January 1st 2017.

Mr Evans said: ‘Once again the government has been shown to be making policy up as it goes along. Their insistence that BBC Radio increases competitive tendering to 60% by 2022 is unnecessarily soon and ignores the reality of the radio supply market.

‘BBC Radio stations are among the most popular in the country, providing informative and entertaining content enjoyed by millions. Some of their content is made by independent producers and the BBC is looking to increase this.

‘If the Charter and Agreement is enacted in its current form, I fear that license fee payers will lose out. The government must re-consider this and ensure that it only agrees realistic and sensible competitive tendering arrangements with BBC Radio.’

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