BBC defends right to remain a ‘universal public broadcaster’
The BBC Trust has defended its right to remain a “universal public service broadcaster” and opposed the potential sale of its commercial arm BBC Worldwide or future ‘top-slicing’ of the licence fee.
In its formal response to the UK Government’s Green Paper consultation on the BBC’s Charter Review, the BBC’s governing body claimed that, at 92%, the vast majority of the public agreed that the BBC should provide “something for everyone who pays the licence fee”.
The Trust argued that the licence fee, modernised to take account of iPlayer, remains “the most sensible way of funding the BBC” and argued that the licence fee should not be top-sliced to pay for things like digital radio switchover.
It also said that BBC Worldwide owns the BBC’s content on behalf of the licence fee payer and that selling or privatising it would “remove from the BBC the long-term stream of funding and investment that it provides.”
“Our evidence so far shows that the public supports a BBC that is universal, independent and at the heart of our cultural life. Today’s response to the Government is grounded in what tens of thousands of people have told us; our work continues with more research and consultation in the coming months, and we will play a full part in the discussions with the Government as the BBC’s future is decided,” said BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead.