The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Written evidence from the Department for International Development


The 2002 International Development Act makes reducing poverty the core purpose of DFID's assistance. The Act sets out when DFID can provide development or humanitarian assistance, in what forms and on what terms. The Secretary of State is able to provide assistance for sustainable development or improving the welfare of the people in countries outside the UK, if he is satisfied that aid is likely to reduce poverty. In essence this is a statutory purpose test and a statutory condition (reduction of poverty) that has to be met. To provide aid under section 1 of the 2002 Act lawfully, not only must the Secretary of State be of the opinion that aid is for the purposes in section 1(2), but there must also be a clear objective link between the assistance and purposes it is claimed to be made for.

Core funding to the BBC World Service could not be deemed to meet the terms of the Act as poverty reduction is not identified as a purpose or objective of the BBC World Service in either the BBC Royal Charter or the BBC World Service Broadcasting Agreement.

To the extent that the BBC World Service is able to identify specific programmes or activities that could be deemed to meet the poverty reduction test DFID could provide funding in the same way that it funds any organisation to deliver similar objectives. But our preliminary view is that it is difficult to identify any specific BBC World Service activities which will meet this test other than, for example, the training of local journalists and technicians.

15 March 2011

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