Wefan Gymraeg

Tory plans could jeopardise future of Welsh language broadcasting


The Conservative Government's plans to tamper with and possibly abolish the BBC licence fee pose serious threats to the funding of S4C, Welsh Lib Dem Lord Roger Roberts has said today.

Numerous high profile Conservative MPs, such as Boris Johnson, have argued the BBC licence fee should be completely scrapped. John Whittingdale MP, who has been appointed as Culture Secretary, has also said the fee should be scrapped and that it is "worse than a poll tax".

The Conservatives are also reported to be looking to push ahead with the decriminalisation of the licence fee, which was blocked in the last Parliament in the House of Lords. This would cost the BBC £200m a year.

In Wales £76 million of the funding for S4C comes from the BBC licence fee. This is more than three quarters of the income support for S4C.

Welsh Liberal Democrat peer Lord Roberts of Llandudno said:

"The question is: do the Tories intend to destroy our Welsh language channel? If not, they must immediately clarify how S4C will be financed.

"I am extremely concerned about what these plans would mean for the future of our Welsh language service. I remember well the struggle to secure this licence fee funding when the present settlement was agreed; Liberal Democrats played a prominent part in this struggle.

"The Conservative proposal to tamper with and possibly abolish the BBC licence fee poses many threats to broadcasting in the United Kingdom.

"S4C was born after a great struggle and today deserves our total support. More than anything else it has made an immense contribution to safeguarding our language.

"The Tories must remove our anxiety and tell us immediately how S4C will be funded.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are strong supporters of S4C and will continue to campaign on this matter. As soon as Parliament reconvenes I intend to carry this campaign ahead with Oral and Written questions."


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