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

The BBC's royal charter is up for review

Jon Stone
Friday 26 June 2015 10:03
Comments
The BBC logo is displayed above the main entrance to Television Centre on October 18, 2007 in London.
The BBC logo is displayed above the main entrance to Television Centre on October 18, 2007 in London.

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.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in