World Service gets £7m more over three years

The BBC World Service received a funding boost yesterday when the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, announced a government grant which will support the BBC Arabic service and throw a lifeline to the threatened Hindi network.

The announcement of a £2.2m grant for each of the next three years followed a government cut of 16 per cent in the World Service's £270m a year budget, decided at a spending review last year. News of the additional money prompted one over-enthusiastic Foreign Office employee to post a headline on the official website of Mr Hague's department declaring a "Massive U-turn on BBC World Service Funding".

Despite an underlying truth in the statement, the civil servant was said to be facing disciplinary action for the embarrassment caused. An FCO spokeswoman said the headline did not reflect the view of the Government. It was swiftly changed to "BBC World Service Funding Review".