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BBC budget oversight 'must safeguard independence'

7 April 2010

The House of Commons public accounts committee has expressed concerns about the need for the BBC to deliver value for money.

The NUJ has welcomed the committee's report. Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Our experience has been that those working to produce BBC news and entertainment are conscious of that obligation. We share the committee's desire to see less of the BBC's budget spent on overheads and more on providing a world-class service.
"Despite its faults, and the NUJ has never been reluctant to highlight those, the BBC's overall performance is something of which we can be proud. It represents the best of public service broadcasting, and this is underlined by the fact that it generates a good deal of foreign income which is of benefit to the whole economy."

The committee's report also says (PDF) that the BBC Trust:

"seems to think it is acceptable to negotiate the terms on which it will do business with Parliament. This is unacceptable and a discourtesy to Parliament."

Jeremy Dear commented:

"Any arrangement for oversight of BBC funding must safeguard the independence of the BBC from the government of the day. While it is important that licence-payers get value for money, they're not paying that money so that government can decide what they should get to watch."


Tags: , broadcasting, bbc, funding, editorial independence, bbc trust, parliament uk