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BBC got a 'superb funding deal'

The BBC got a "superb" funding deal in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and will retain its independence from the Government despite budget cuts, a minister has insisted.

Junior culture minister Ed Vaizey said the Government strongly supported the Corporation, which he praised as "dynamic and forward-looking".

His comments came during a Commons debate in which a Labour MP claimed the Government showed "contempt" for the broadcaster.

Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) accused ministers of intimidating the BBC in to accepting the licence fee settlement which, he said, was drawn up in just 72 hours.

But Mr Vaizey denied the accusations, saying the BBC could move forward after agreeing a "superb licence fee settlement".

He added: "I want to put on the record here this Government's strong support for the BBC, its complete commitment to the independence of the BBC.

"I don't think the BBC is set in aspic in any way. I think it remains a dynamic and forward-looking organisation. Not only is it one of the most respected broadcasters in the world but it continues to innovate."

Under the CSR, the BBC accepted an effective 16% budget cut, with its licence fee frozen at £145.50 for six years.

It will also take on new financial responsibilities, including funding the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring, as well as part-funding the Welsh language channel S4C. The measures will save the Treasury £340 million a year.

The BBC's director-general Mark Thompson called the measures a "realistic deal in exceptional circumstances".


From Belfast Telegraph