Protect our BBC – for the arts and for everyone

Culture Secretary – protect our BBC, for the arts and for everyone

The Government has imposed further deep cuts on the BBC, and has threatened to abolish its funding model entirely.

As Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries froze the licence fee below inflation until 2024, creating a hole of £285 million in the BBC’s finances.1

In 2027, the Government has signalled that it will abolish the licence fee altogether – a move that could limit access to our national public broadcaster and diminish the range and quality of its output. Ministers have not suggested an alternative funding model.

The BBC’s public funding supports programmes and services with clear public benefit: 90% of us access them every week.2 No other UK broadcaster invests as much in original content, talent development and access to art and culture.

The Government’s plans threaten to cause lasting damage to the BBC and to UK culture at home and abroad.

We urge the Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan to:

  1. End Government attacks on the BBC now.
  2. Increase and sustain the BBC’s funding, at least in line with inflation.
  3. Ensure that the BBC remains publicly owned and publicly funded after 2027, with a model that maintains universal access and upholds a strong commitment to public service broadcasting.

The BBC's funding has already been slashed – by 15% in real terms during the 2010s

For only 44p per day, the BBC currently delivers

  • 9 national TV channels plus regional TV services
  • 56 radio stations – 10 pan-UK, 6 national and 40 local
  • the BBC website – including News, Sport, Weather, CBeebies, CBBC, Food, Bitesize, Arts
  • BBC iPlayer – thousands of live and on-demand programmes
  • BBC Sounds – a wide range of musical genres, radio stations and podcasts
  • BBC World Service – TV, radio and online
  • other apps and online services3

One week into lockdown, the BBC launched the biggest educational programme in its recent history to ensure children across the UK had access to learning support.4 Three quarters of  all secondary school pupils used BBC Bitesize in 2021/22.5

The BBC plays a leading role in the UK’s globally-successful creative industries

Commissioning and producing original programmes; training and employing thousands of people; developing and platforming new talent through schemes like BBC Music Introducing, Writersroom and Young Musician. The BBC is the biggest arts broadcaster in the world6, and the biggest single investor in the UK’s creative industries.7 We cannot afford to lose the benefits it brings.

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  1. The Times[]
  2. BBC’s Annual Report 2021/22, page 6[]
  3. TV Licensing[]
  4. BBC News[]
  5. BBC’s Annual Report 2021/22, page 4[]
  6. Darren Henley, The Arts Dividend: Why Investment in Culture Pays, p145[]
  7. Lord Young, PoliticsHome[]