Bectu response to the BBC Director-General’s speech

26 March 2024

Commenting on the BBC Director-General’s speech this morning on the future of the BBC, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: 

“The BBC is a globally revered institution, a cornerstone of our democracy and a longstanding incubator of British talent. In a rapidly changing media landscape, we welcome the BBC’s acknowledgement that it must reform to ensure it remains a world-leading public service broadcaster.  

“The BBC has had to make difficult financial decisions precipitated by the government’s decision to freeze the licence fee. It is right that the Director-General has acknowledged the significant cuts that have taken place as a result, hitting titles and content that audiences love, and jobs across the country, creating significant pain for Bectu members.  

“Bectu has long argued that any review of the BBC’s funding model must be predated by a fundamental national conversation about what we want from the BBC and how that can be delivered. 

“We have also been clear that there is yet to be a better funding model proposed that would ensure the BBC can maintain its breadth of services. We therefore welcome the Director-General’s commitment to proactively research the scope of the licence fee post-2028, including how it could be more progressive, and ensuring fair and proportionate enforcement, and the BBC’s public consultation. 

“We are likewise pleased to hear the BBC will discuss World Service funding with the government. We hear a lot of warm words from government about ‘global Britain’; we maintain that these warm words should be matched by funding that ensures it can remain a significant soft power asset. 

“The BBC’s success is critical for that of the wider UK creative industries. British storytelling is loved locally and around the world and it is the skills and talents – of both BBC staff, and the many freelancers engaged by or via the corporation – who bring these to life. We are heartened by the BBC’s commitment to continue to back British stories and champion creative talent across the country.

“As the Director-General has acknowledged, the BBC needs to do more to open up the organisation and the whole industry to everyone. To be a truly public service broadcaster, both the content and the jobs that the organisation generates must be accessible to all and reflect the diversity of the UK.

“There is no doubt that the BBC has a challenging time ahead, not least as it approaches its Charter renewal and continues to grapple with funding questions. We look forward to continuing to engage with the BBC to ensure it is positioned strongly for the future and can continue to deliver for the public and provide security for its workforce.”