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Welsh MPs to vote against S4C cuts

12 May 2011

A majority of Welsh MPs are expected to vote against government plans to cut the budget of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C, as a critical cross-party report is published. The NUJ and other unions and language groups in Wales have welcomed the news.

The umbrella group opposed to the cuts consists of the NUJ, BECTU, Equity, Undeb yr Ysgrifenwyr, Undeb y Cerddorion, a Chymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg. They released the following statement:

Welsh | English

Adroddiad S4C: ASau Cymru yn erbyn cynllun y LlywodraethGrŵp ymbarél yn croesawu gwrthwynebiad trawsbleidiol

Mae nifer o undebau a mudiadau iaith wedi croesawu'r newyddion bod y mwyafrif o ASau o Gymru yn bwriadu pleidleisio yn erbyn cynlluniau'r llywodraeth i gwtogi ar gyllideb S4C, wrth i adroddiad beirniadol trawsbleidiol gael ei gyhoeddi.

Pleidleisiau gan ASau o Loegr yn unig wnaeth atal cynnwys geiriad ffurfiol yn adroddiad y pwyllgor i dynnu S4C allan o'r Mesur Cyrff Cyhoeddus (tud. 46) a fyddai'n galluogi'r Llywodraeth torri ei grant i'r sianel o naw deg pedwar y cant. Cefnogwyd yr ymdrech i atal y cynlluniau gan gynrychiolwyr y Blaid Lafur, Plaid Cymru a'r Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol ar y pwyllgor.

Fe ddywedodd David Donovan, llefarydd ar ran cynghrair o undebau, y FEU (Ffederasiwn yr Undebau Adloniant):

"Yn amlwg, mae mwyafrif o ASau Cymru eisiau atal cynlluniau presennol y Llywodraeth trwy dynnu'r sianel allan o'r ddeddfwriaeth, ac mae hynny i'w groesawu. Y ffaith bod y Llywodraeth wedi dibynnu ar bleidleisiau ASau o Loegr ar y pwyllgor yn dweud y cyfan.
"Rydyn ni'n croesawu'n fawr iawn gwrthwynebiad y Blaid Lafur, Plaid Cymru a'r Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol i ymgais y Llywodraeth i newid y gyfraith. Mae yna obaith i ni ennill ein brwydr o blaid dyfodol sicr i'n hunig sianel teledu Cymraeg gyda eu cefnogaeth."

Mae'r adroddiad yn derbyn bod angen "a new S4C: a multi-platform, multi-media broadcaster/publisher" (para. 64, tud. 18) ac yn cydnabod i'r fargen rhwng y BBC a'r Llywodraeth gael ei gwneud "in haste" a "without sufficient consultation" (para. 131, tud.33).

Mae yna hefyd gydnabyddiaeth o'r ansicrwydd ariannol wedi 2015, gyda'r pwyllgor yn dadlau ei bod yn 'essential that there is a long term funding formula enacted in primary legislation." (para. 100, tud. 26).

Ychwanegodd Menna Machreth, llefarydd darlledu Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg:

"Er fod y llywodraeth wedi anwybyddu galwadau o Gymru hyd yn hyn mae'n debyg y bydd rhaid i'r Llywodraeth ail-ystyried eu cynllun annoeth yn sgil yr adroddiad beirniadol hwn. Rydyn ni'n falch bod barn unedig Cymru sydd yn gwrthwynebu'r toriadau enfawr wedi ei adlewyrchu gan y mwyafrif o ASau o Gymru.
"Nid yw ein synnu bod y gwrthwynebiad mor gryf, gan fod y fargen rhwng y llywodraeth a'r BBC yn golygu torri grant S4C o 94% - toriad sydd yn hollol annheg. Yn sicr, rydyn ni'n cytuno gyda'r angen am S4C newydd yn yr oes aml-blatfform newydd ac yr angen am fformiwla ariannu hir dymor mewn deddf gwlad."

Dywedodd Meic Birtwistle o ran yr NUJ:

"Fe fydd yr adroddiad hwn yn rhoi pwysau mawr ar y Llywodraeth i edrych o'r newydd ar ei chynlluniau. Dim ond gyda ffordd newydd ymlaen, sydd yn adeiladu consensws ar draws Cymru gyfan, gallwn ni sicrhau'r rhaglenni safonol sydd angen i sicrhau llwyddiant y sianel."

Umbrella group welcomes cross-party opposition report as Welsh MPs oppose government S4C plans

Unions and language groups have welcomed news that a majority of Welsh MPs will vote against government plans to cut S4C's budget, as a critical cross-party report is published.

Only votes from English MPs prevented the cross-party group of MPs formally including a line calling for S4C to be removed from the Public Bodies Bill (pg. 46), legislation which would allow the Government to cut its grant to the channel by 94%. The effort to stop the plans was supported by Labour, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat representatives on the committee.

Speaking on behalf of union group, the FEU (Federation of Entertainment Unions), David Donovan said:

"It's clear that the majority of Wales' MPs want to stop the Government's plans by taking S4C out of the legislation, that's to be welcomed. The fact that the Government has relied on the vote of English MPs on the committee says it all.
"We warmly welcome the opposition of the Labour party, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats to the Government's attempt to change the law. There's hope that we can win our battle for a secure future for our only Welsh language TV channel with their continued support."

The report accepts the need for "a new S4C: a multi-platform, multi-media broadcaster/publisher" (para. 64, t the deal between the BBC and thepg. 18) and recognises that the deal between the BBC and the Government was made "in haste" and "without sufficient consultation' (para. 131, pg. 33).

There is also recognition of the financial uncertainty after 2015, the committee argues that it is "essential that there is a long term funding formula [for S4C] enacted in primary legislation." (para. 100, pg. 26)

Menna Machreth, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg's broadcasting spokesperson added:

"Although the Government has ignored the views of Wales so far, it will have to reconsider its ill-thought-out plans following this critical report. We're glad that the united opposition from Wales to these massive cuts is reflected by the majority of Welsh MPs.
"It doesn't surprise us that the opposition is so strong, given that the deal between the BBC and the Government would mean a 94% cut to the channel's grant – a cut which is totally unfair. Certainly, we agree with the need for a new S4C in the new multi-platform age and the need for a long term funding formula protected in statute."

Meic Birtwistle from journalists' union the NUJ added:

"This report puts a great deal of pressure on the Government to look afresh at all its plans. Only with a new way forward, which builds a consensus across Wales, can we secure the high quality programming needed for the success of the channel."

Tags: , broadcasting, s4c, feu, bectu, equity, welsh language, parliament uk, bbc, government uk