- 'Can it really make sense to cut the BBC World service by 16%, leading to the loss of 32 language services and 650 jobs'
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty's Government by how much the BBC World Service budget has been reduced in the current financial year; and what plans they have for funding the World Service in the future.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My Lords, the budget for the BBC World Service for the 2011-12 financial year was just over £255 million. It was reduced by £11 million to £244.2 million for the current financial year and will reduce by a further £4 million to £240 million in the financial year 2013-14. From April 2014, the BBC World Service will be funded from the licence fee instead of from FCO grant in aid.
Lord Alton of Liverpool: I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, but at a time of phenomenal uncertainty in the world can it really make sense to cut the BBC World service by 16%, leading to the loss of 32 language services and 650 jobs and an estimated fall in audiences of some 30 million people? In particular, should we not think again before savagely reducing medium-wave transmissions to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Israel at a moment when the region is in total crisis and the voice of reason is in such short supply? In this 80th anniversary year of the BBC World Service, surely it is a moment to celebrate its extraordinary achievements in upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law rather than so short-sightedly diminishing this country's influence right across the globe.
Read more: House of Lords / 27 Nov 2012 : Column 83