BBC told to give £100m to rivals

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The Independent Online

The BBC will be told this week that more than £100m of its funding should be "top-sliced" to pay for independent broadcasters. A major report into the future of broadcasting by the communications minister, Lord Carter, will recommend giving a large part of the licence fee to rivals.

The White Paper, Digital Britain, risks a battle between ministers and BBC chiefs over the purpose and principles of public service broadcasting.

Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, has warned ministers that licence fee money must not be used to fund "things that have nothing to do with the BBC's public purposes".

Lord Carter suggests hiving off up to £100m of the BBC's publicly funded £3.6bn budget for the first time to pay independent production companies to provide regional news programmes for ITV, with a further £30m of licence fee cash used for current affairs and documentaries on independent television or the internet.

The White Paper will be unveiled in the Commons later this week.