Ofcom 'could be handed external control of the BBC' under plans to be published

The BBC's royal charter is up for review

A Government report on the future of the BBC is set to recommend that the BBC Trust be abolished and its powers handed to Ofcom, it has been reported.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper says an upcoming Green Paper into the Corporation’s future will present putting the Corporation under external control for the first time in its history.

Under the plan the industry regulator’s role would be expanded and it would have direct oversight of the public broadcaster to ensure impartiality.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport stressed to the Independent that the report was speculation.

"No decisions have been taken. All aspects of the BBC are up for debate as part of the Charter Review process," a DCMS spokesperson said.

Politicians and activists from all parts of the political spectrum sometimes criticise the BBC’s coverage as biased against them.

The BBC Trust is the governing body of the BBC. It is operationally independent from the broadcaster and is tasked with making decisions in the interests of licence-fee payers.

It was set up in 2007 to replace the previous Board of Governors.

The report comes as the Independent reports that the BBC is facing the threat of a huge budget cut, as the Government considers making it pay the £600m cost of free TV licences itself.

The proposal is set to be on the table as part of George Osborne’s upcoming budget on 8 July.

Last week BBC political editor Nick Robinson revealed in an interview with the Guardian newspaper that David Cameron joked during the election campaign that he might close down the BBC.

 

Newly appointed Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has been a critic of some aspects of the Corporation, having described licence fee funding arrangement as worse than a “poll tax”.

The Conservative manifesto pledged to deliver a “comprehensive” review of the BBC’s Royal Charter.

The party says the move would ensure the broadcaster “delivers value for money for the licence fee payer, while maintaining a world class service and supporting our creative industries”.

BBC Trust spokesman said: “We aren’t going to comment on speculation and these issues will be debated as part of Charter Review. The important principle is that the BBC’s independence is protected.”

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