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BBC regulator funding

Published: 25 Sep 2016 00:01

Licence fee must not be top sliced to fund Ofcom.

Ofcom must be properly resourced by the UK Government and should not be funded from the licence fee, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said today.

Fiona Hyslop is urging the UK Government to make a firm commitment to provide adequate funding for the regulation of the BBC by Ofcom rather than asking the Corporation to divert revenue away from programme making.

The Scottish Government has called for further decentralisation within the BBC with the benefits of bringing decision making on output to Scotland closer to viewers and listeners. This requires closer scrutiny by Ofcom and greater accountability and oversight by a Scottish Committee of the unitary board. Ofcom will need a well-resourced capability to assess performance against a Scottish Service Licence.

Ms Hyslop said:

"The decision to appoint Ofcom as the BBC's external, independent regulator means it now has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the BBC delivers for Scotland and that this nation is treated much more fairly than it has in the past.

"Positive change can only be achieved if Ofcom is adequately resourced to manage the wide-ranging nature of its responsibilities. The UK Government must commit to adequate funding for Ofcom, but this must not be funded by the licence fee. People across Scotland pay their licence fee to allow the BBC to deliver high-quality productions, not the regulation of the BBC. Instead, this funding should be provided by the UK Government.

"I'm committed to on-going engagement with BBC Scotland and continue to offer my full support and assistance so that the corporation can realise its true potential and deliver more for the people of Scotland. I have already made an offer to meet with senior figures from the BBC and Ofcom to continue to progress the position supported by the Scottish Parliament and the wider sector in Scotland and will continue to press the UK Government for clarity on the funding mechanisms for Ofcom."

Notes to editors

The BBC Charter confirmed that Ofcom is to be appointed as the corporation's external, independent regulator and will take control from April 2017.

Scottish Government's broadcasting blueprint: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/6884