Prospect National Conference backs campaign to defend public service broadcasting, BBC licence fee

12 June 2022

The UK’s biggest broadcasting union, Bectu, has passed two motions defending public service broadcasting, creative content and jobs at its parent union’s national conference in Bournemouth today.

The conference noted that public service broadcasting is under attack like never before. The Government is intent on privatising Channel 4 and reducing the licence fee of the BBC for two years, with immediate impact on its range of programmes and on the employment of staff, both permanent and freelance. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Secretary of State, Nadine Dorries, has also proposed a review of the BBC’s future funding.

These broadcasting bodies are the Crown Jewels of television, radio and online services in the United Kingdom.

2022 also marks the centenary of the BBC and as the debate begins about its funding model, Bectu has a vital role to play in defending the principle of public service broadcasting, as well as creative content and jobs.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“The Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4 and its threats to the BBC licence fee are an act of cultural vandalism and Bectu will not let these attacks pass unchallenged.

“Freezing and later abolishing the BBC licence fee will necessitate huge cuts – hitting jobs, regional economies and ultimately the content that British people know and love.

“In the case of Channel 4, this hugely successful, self-sustaining broadcaster supports a thriving independent production sector, creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country, and investing 100% of its £1 billion revenue back into the organisation, at zero-cost to the taxpayer.

“Privatisation will deal a heavy blow to independent production and the thousands of jobs it creates. The viewing public will also suffer – under the current funding model Channel 4 can champion risk and creativity, commissioning boundary-pushing, thought provoking content for British audiences to enjoy.

“It’s fantastic to have the overwhelming support of our members as we continue our work fighting for the future of our world-leading public service broadcasters, as well as the innovative creative content they generate and the tens of thousands of jobs they create.”

Bectu’s members include staff from the BBC, where it is the biggest trade union, as well as across the television, film, theatre and live events industries.

Prospect national conference is taking place from Sunday 12 to Tuesday 14 June 2022 at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Prospect holds a national conference every two years, attended by representatives, to make sure we are constantly checking in with our members on what is important to them. Conference decides on the priorities of the union by garnering the views of branches.

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