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S4C

Volume 473: debated on Monday 10 March 2008

10. How much his Department has paid to S4C in 2007-08; and what his estimate is of the level of such payments in 2008-09. (192293)

I am trying to work out how to get my congratulations to West Bromwich Albion on reaching the FA cup semi-finals into my question, but I fear that I shall have to confine myself to asking the Secretary of State why, with all the valid demands on his Department’s funds, it has spent £0.5 billion over the past six years propping up this television station. Would it not be better to transfer responsibility to the Welsh Assembly so that it can decide and, if it wants to keep it, it can pay for it?

Tempted as I am to stray into football matters, I think that I had better answer my right hon. Friend’s question directly. As he will know, broadcasting is a reserved matter, which is right as it affects the whole of the United Kingdom. It is important that the traditional strengths of British public service broadcasting be maintained and built upon. Colleagues representing Welsh constituencies might have a different perspective than my right hon. Friend on the issues he has raised. The funding settlement for S4C has worked well and it has worked within the overall British context in which we consider broadcasting.