Fisking Foster

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Don Foster‘s press release on the BBC today caught my eye:

Ahead of Tuesday’s anticipated publication of the BBC White Paper, Don Foster MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary today warned the Government against a TV licence fee ‘smash and grab’.

Don Foster MP said:

“The White Paper must rule out a TV licence fee ‘smash and grab’.

“Government (i.e. tax payers) – not TV licence fee payers (i.e. tax payers) – should pay for Labour’s policy of a switch to digital TV (does this mean the Lib Dems oppose a switch to digital TV?!), and if Government introduces ‘spectrum charging’ for broadcasters, licence fee payers shouldn’t foot the bill.

“Together these charges would be nothing short of a £600m stealth tax.

On the move to Manchester:

“The Government must ensure that the regeneration benefits from the BBC’s move to Manchester are paid for by regional authorities (What regional authorities? Local authorities or RDAs? Which?) not TV viewers nationwide. (I thought the move was about saving money by moving out of London? If this policy leads to a long term easing of pressure on the license fee, then surely it is reasonable that the short term costs come out of it as well?)

On governance:

“The White Paper must also make good Government promises that the regulation and oversight of the BBC be separated.

“In an ever more competitive broadcasting market it is crucial that the regulators of the BBC are not also the flag-wavers for the BBC.” (Fair enough, but 1 out of 3 ain’t good enough)

3 thoughts on “Fisking Foster

  1. You’re quite right about the move to Manchester. I think, though, that Don’s position on switchover may well be that analogue shouldn’t be switched off so soon (if at all). Although that press release puts it badly, he’s right that central government, and not the BBC, should pay for switchover.

  2. If I were of a generous frame of mind, I could probably defend a lot of what I take issue with that press release. But as you say it is appallingly worded and says nothing at all about what the Lib Dems would do as an alternative. I’m not in a generous frame of mind.

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