Today, the BBC has announced its intention to drastically scale back its regional TV, radio and online output. While not unexpected (I previously tabled an EDM against these cuts: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57121/bbc-inside-out-and-politics-east), this news is still unwelcome.
Regional broadcasting is a vital way of holding those in power to account, and produces some of the most trusted news out there. Its rooted in our communities, and serves a need that cannot be met nationally.
Although Covid-19 has affected production, the root cause to these cuts remains the government’s decision to hugely reduce the BBC’s funding. £800 million has been cut so far in this charter period – and the Tories’ U-turn on providing free TV licenses to the over-75s has meant this cost (£250 million) was also passed onto the BBC to meet.
The Government needs to take responsibility here and stop passing the buck onto BBC management.