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Entertainment unions launch alternative vision for BBC

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Posted by BECTU web site

The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) launched its BBC Alternative White Paper in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 15 March. The FEU's Alternative White Paper calls on the BBC to: • Renegotiate its agreement to fund free TV licences for the over-75s, which could mean a loss of 20 per cent of its budget; • Be independent of government interference, by extending the Charter period to 11 years to take it out of the political cycle; • Have a governance structure which is not filled with government appointees and includes representatives of its staff and licence fee payers; • Continue to be a universal broadcaster making a full range of popular drama and entertainment programmes; • Provide news free of bias and maintain standards of accuracy and integrity in its journalism.

        Speakers at this afternoon's launch included Maria Eagle MP (shadow secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport), Lord Foster, Lord Fowler, Hywel Williams MP and James Heath, the BBC's director of policy. The debate, played out in front of a packed Committee Room 11, was chaired by Christine Payne, Equity general secretary. 

The meeting heard widespread criticism of the government's attacks on the BBC, on the BBC's funding and on its independence from government. Loved and respected around the world, the BBC should be supported and maintained as one of the country's most valuable cultural assets, said speaker after speaker.

There was recognition of the need for the BBC to be accountable to the licence fee payer and condemnation of the current government's attempts to starve the Corporation of essential resources to continue to lead on innovation and creativity. 

Lord Lester, speaking from floor, announced plans to submit a Private Members' Bill to put the BBC Charter on a statutory footing in a bid to protect the BBC from interference from the government of the day; the Bill would also seek to enshrine in law a requirement for the BBC to have sufficient funds to carry out its responsibilities to the licence fee payer. 

Read the Alternative White Paper at:

The FEU comprises Equity, the Musicians’ Union, BECTU, the National Union of Journalists, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, the Professional Footballers Association and Unite.

DATELINE: 17 March, 2016