Supplementary written evidence from the
BBC World Service |
BBC AND THE
Monday 11 October 2010
1. The BBC was advised (both Trust and Executive)
that as part of the Spending Review (SR) the Government was actively
considering the funding of free television licences for the over-75s
and the funding of the World Service, and was considering transferring
funding responsibility for both from the Government to the licence
Tuesday 12 October 2010
2. The Director-General had an exploratory telephone
conversation with the Secretary of State CMS.
3. There were internal discussions between the
BBC Trust and the BBC Executive about the implications of the
SR and about how best to protect the BBC's independence.
Wednesday 13 October 2010
4. The Director-General and the Secretary of
State met to discuss the SR implications for the BBC. With the
Chairman's agreement, the Director-General expressed outright
opposition to the over-75s proposal but signalled the BBC might
be willing to agree to absorb World Service costs if that could
be part of a full licence fee settlement running to the end of
the Charter period.
Thursday 14 October 2010
5. The Chairman called the Secretary of State
and reiterated the BBC's outright opposition to free licences
for the over-75s being funded by the licence fee. He identified
the important principles that he thought the Trustees would expect
to underpin any settlement negotiations.
6. The Trustees were updated via a conference
call and agreed principles upon which discussions with the Government
7. Discussions with the Government continued.
Friday 15 October 2010
8. Discussions with the Government continued.
Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October 2010
9. Talks with the Government continued over the
weekend and the BBC continued to assert the principles agreed
by the Trustees on 14 October as well as presenting indicative
proposals to illustrate the financial implications of any settlement.
10. Concerned that no progress was being made,
the Chairman wrote to the Prime Minister and stated the BBC's
objections to the over 75s proposal and the BBC's intention to
oppose it, while reiterating the BBC's willingness to consider
a full settlement including consideration of the proposal that
the licence fee payer fund the World Service.
Monday 18 October 2010
11. The Secretary of State met the Chairman and
then the Director-General. He informed them that the Government
still had in mind to impose the full cost of the over-75s' licences
on the licence fee. The Chairman and the Director General both
made clear the BBC would oppose this, and talks were suspended.
12. At the Secretary of State's initiative, talks
were resumed and continued through the night between the BBC and
the Government. A set of draft proposals was prepared for review
by the Executive Board and the Trustees.
Tuesday 19 October 2010
13. The Executive Board met and agreed that it
would be possible to implement the settlement.
14. The Trustees held a teleconference. They
noted that the Executive Board had advised that implementation
of the settlement was possible. Therefore on the basis that the
proposals were consistent with the principles the Trustees had
agreed on 14 October, they agreed to the settlement and delegated
authority to the Chairman to conclude discussions with the Government.
15. Details of the impact of the SR on the BBC
came into the public domain.
Wednesday 20 October 2010
16. The Chairman, the Director-General, and the
Director of the World Service met the Foreign Secretary to discuss
the implications of the settlement for the World Service.
17. The Government announced the results of the
Thursday 21 October 2010
18. An exchange of letters between the Secretary
of State and the Chairman formallyrecorded the licence fee settlement
19. The Secretary of State announced full details
of the licence fee settlement in Parliament as part of the Culture
Media and Sport spending review statement. [Hansard Column
Tuesday 14 December 2010
20. The Director-General, the Deputy Director
and the Director of the World Service met the Foreign Secretary,
the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport and the
FCO Permanent Under-Secretary of State, to discuss options for
delivering the savings required by the Spending Review settlement.
14 March 2011