With a new British government, specifically a new culture secretary, in place, the decisions to privatize Channel 4 and to scrap the BBC licence fee are being reviewed.
The new culture secretary, Michelle Donelan – who replaced Nadine Dorries after Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister – told the BBC yesterday that she was looking again at both decisions announced by her predecessor.
On the matter of the BBC’s licence fee being scrapped, she told Radio 4’s Today programme that she was “re-examining the business case” saying:
“It is no secret that I have been a long-term sceptic of the licence fee and that we need to make sure that the BBC is sustainable in the long term. So I’m looking at this in the round.
“I’m somebody that listens, I’m somebody that decides policy based on evidence and that’s what I will be doing over the coming weeks.”
And on the matter of the much-criticised plans to sell off state-owned broadcaster Channel 4, she said similarly:
“As the prime minister said, we do need to re-examine the business case and that’s certainly what I’m doing. We are … making sure we still agree with that decision and that’s what I’m doing.
“I’m the type of politician that bases their decisions on evidence, on listening and that’s what I will be doing over the coming weeks. I will take that approach when it comes to Channel 4 and every aspect of my brief.”
Donelan did take time to praise the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral in recent days, saying the broadcaster had done a “tremendous job”, however, she added:
“It showed the true value of the BBC but for me that means it’s even more important that we make sure the BBC is sustainable in the long-term.”