Implications of the BBC World Service Cuts

Written evidence from Mr Andrew Tyrie MP

BBC World Service: A Way Forward

You reminded me that your Committee is running an inquiry into the implications of the BBC World Service cuts and suggested that I submit my letter to the FAC as evidence. I attach this.

In the letter, I suggest a way in which the Government can spare the World Service from the draconian cuts it announced on 26th January 2011. The full value of the cuts in cash terms can and should be found from within the DfID budget. This can be achieved without prejudicing the coalition’s commitment to increase aid to 0.7 per cent of GNI from 2013.

I would be happy to discuss this further with you.

2 March 2011

Annex

Letter from Mr Andrew Tyrie MP to the Foreign Secretary

Rt Hon William Hague MP

Foreign Secretary

King Charles Street

London

SW1A 2AH

21st February 2011

I very much hope that you will reconsider your decision to cut the BBC World Service budget by sixteen per cent by 2013/14 in real terms [1] .

These cuts are not required as a contribution to deficit reduction. The full value of the cuts in cash terms, of £28 million, can and should be found from the DfID budget. Furthermore, this can be achieved without prejudicing the coalition’s commitment to increase aid to 0.7 per cent of GNI from 2013. This is because, under OECD definitions, much of the value of World Service activity can be legitimately scored as aid. The relevant OECD definition of Official Development Assistance is: "Flows of official financing administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as a main objective."

The total value of DfID’s budget is planned to be £11.3 billion by 2013/14.  The planned increase is £3.5 billion in cash terms. Therefore, the needs – in nominal terms – of the World Service can be fully met with just 0.8 percent of the increase in funding that is currently going to DfID.

Given the above, I find the case for the cuts in the World Service budget difficult to justify.

I’m copying this letter to a number of colleagues who have expressed support in the past for the BBC World Services work and I am putting it in the public domain.

ANDREW TYRIE MP


[1] Source: BBC World Service (written statement) HC Deb 26 January 2011 c13WS