Ed Vaizey: In a downturn, people will question the value of the licence fee

Share
Related Topics

We in the Conservative party are fans of the BBC. In an uncertain world, the BBC provides a great resource for publicly-funded high-quality content. When looking for a solution to the future of public service broadcasting, we want one that is the least damaging to the BBC's integrity.

Although we believe in plurality in public service broadcasting, we do not believe the solution to the challenges presented by the internet age is necessarily to try and create another BBC. Having said that, it is equally important that the BBC stop acting like a friendly monopolist, making noises about partnerships, and engages seriously in discussions about how to ensure plurality in public service broadcasting.

On other matters: while we support the licence fee, and believe it is the best way to fund the BBC for the foreseeable future, we believe the level of the licence fee is at the top end of what is acceptable to the public.

The current settlement – which lasts to 2012 – built in increases of 13-15 per cent. That was a generous settlement when times were good. It may start to look prohibitive as times get increasingly bad.

The BBC Trust, under Sir Michael Lyons, has done a good job, and I congratulate him. So what follows is not personal, it is, as they say, business. We think that there needs to be a clearer divide between regulation and management. The BBC should have its own chairman, who can cheer lead for the Corporation, while the head of the regulator gets on with regulating. A truly independent regulator would provide a genuine voice for the licence-fee payer.

Finally, there is the issue of costs. The Ross/Brand row was not just about bad taste, though that was important. It was also about the huge amount of money the BBC is paying Jonathan Ross and other stars. A public service broadcaster with guaranteed revenue shouldn't compete with the private sector on top talent salaries. In fact, I would go further and say the BBC pushes up the price of talent. So we will ensure that the BBC publishes fully audited accounts which will include details of the salaries of all its top talent. The BBC should be prepared to defend salary, and indeed all expenditure decisions it makes.

Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was speaking at the Oxford Media Convention yesterday

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn