BBC Trust makes the case for licence fee

DetailsEditor | 23 July 2015

The BBC Trust has carried on the corporation's fight back against cuts, calling for the BBC to remain a universal and independent broadcaster which aims to provide something for everyone.

The Trust, the body set up to ensure that licence fee payers obtain maximum value for money, has published its initial response to the government's green paper on the BBC's charter review, and launched the first phase of its own consultation on the future of the BBC with audiences across the UK.*** The green paper response says that if the BBC is to retain a broad mission and public funding, it needs clear boundaries and independent regulation, and it sets out some thoughts on the best way of achieving this.

In addition, the trust called for clear boundaries around the government's involvement in the BBC in future. It argued that these should include additional protections for the BBC's independence, such as an eleven-year charter to provide more time between fixed date general elections and the end of the next charter.

Furthermore it called for a legal obligation in the next charter for the government to undertake a public process of consultation with the BBC's regulator as part of any future funding negotiations, and to seek parliamentary approval for any changes to funding. That would mean the licence fee could not be set without proper public scrutiny and debate.

"Charter review will ultimately decide what kind of programmes and services audiences get for the BBC they pay for, so the most important voice in the debate is that of the public and we'll ensure it is heard," said BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead. "We welcome the government's recognition of the importance of the BBC and the value that it brings – that value is built on its providing something for everyone and its independence, which we know audiences support."