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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
John Rentoul outside the Houses of Parliament  

If I were Prime Minister...I would be like a free-market version of Natalie Bennett

John Rentoul
 

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea