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LETTER : The BBC's fight to retain its edge in a competitive market

From Mr Leslie Hill

Sir:Your leader on the future of the BBC (16 February) suggests that, "the summer's end will come when commercial broadcasters conclude that the BBC's freedom to move between the commercial and the publicly funded represents unfair competition".

ITV has already voiced its reservations on this very point. As I said last October when we published our response to the White Paper, fair and open competition is essential to the future health and vigour of British broadcasting as a whole. It was therefore the accountability of the BBC, the transparency of its accounting procedures, and the need for the creation of a genuinely arm's length relationship between its public service activities and increasing commercial activities that we stressed in our submission to the Secretary of State for National Heritage.

In short, ITV has its eye very firmly on developments at the BBC, which is why we have publicly urged a structure and procedures for its commercial activities which will prove capable of comprehension and scrutiny by licence payers and competitors alike.

Yours faithfully,


Chairman, ITV

London, WC1