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Save the BBC

September 27, 2020 3:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

A strong, politically independent BBC plays a key role in our democracy, our creative industries, and our daily lives. The Conservatives are putting that at risk.

The Conservatives' war with the BBC is no secret. Dominic Cumming's think tank described the BBC as the Conservatives' "mortal enemy". This Government has forced the cost of free licenses for over-75s onto the BBC.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the value of the BBC into sharp focus.

There are plans underway to force the BBC to sell off most of its radio stations, close some TV channels, scale back its website, and even replace the TV licence with a subscription model. And the Government has refused to allow ministers onto some key BBC programmes for scrutiny by the public - a cornerstone of our democracy.

Our public service broadcaster is an asset to this country. The BBC's funding model allows it to take risks with its creative output, nurturing up and coming British talent. As one of the top four most recognised British brands internationally, the BBC helps promote the UK around the world.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the value of the BBC into sharp focus. Not only have we been able to rely on the BBC's news and documentary programmes to dispel pseudoscience and rumour about the virus, the BBC quickly adapted its content to help us all through lockdown.

The BBC is a fundamental part of our culture, education, and democracy.

We must protect the BBC. It is a fundamental part of our culture, education, and democracy.

Today Liberal Democrat conference called on the Government to:

  • Protect the BBC as an independent, universally available, properly resourced public service broadcaster
  • Rule out moving the BBC to a subscription model
  • Maintain stable, secure and long-term funding for the BBC through the continuation of the licence fee to the end of the current Charter period in December 2027, and ensure continued equivalent public funding beyond that
  • Ensure future decisions about the level of the licence fee are made transparently by an independent body
  • Make sure senior politicians, particularly party leaders, are available for scrutiny by journalists, such as through televised interviews and debates, especially during election time
  • Work towards the BBC's workforce and output at all levels and across all nations and regions becoming more diverse and reflective of the country it serves

The BBC is a precious resource and a vital part of British culture. As champions of the UK's democracy, creative industries, and cultural identities, the Liberal Democrats pledge to protect the BBC from the Conservatives' reckless right-wing agenda.