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Russia: BBC External Services

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much and what proportion of the overall BBC World Service budget was spent on (a) Arabic-language services, (b) Persian-language services and (c) Russian-language services in each of the last five years. (240661)

Comparisons are difficult to make over the five year period (please see note 1). Over the last three years there has been a slight decrease in funding for the Russia service, mainly due to the withdrawal of FM partnerships in Russia. Funding has steadily increased on both Persian and Arabic services (for detailed figures please see the following table).

£ million/Percentage

2004-051

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Russian

5.4

5.3

4.0

4.7

4.3

Proportion of operating grant in aid (percentage)

2.8

2.5

1.9

2.1

1.8

Arabic

15.8

16.0

7.2

7.8

7.7

Arabic TV

0

4.0

9.0

19.0

21.5

Total Arabic

15.8

20.0

16.2

26.8

29.2

Proportion of operating grant in aid (percentage)

8.2

9.6

7.8

12.1

12.5

Persian and Pashto

7.1

6.6

4.8

5.8

5.6

PTV

0

0

0

7.0

15.0

Total Persian and Pashto (£ million)

7.1

6.6

4.8

12.8

20.6

Proportion of operating grant in aid (percentage)

3.7

3.2

2.3

5.8

8.8

Operating grant in aid2

194.1

208.1

208.5

215.0

234.0

Additional PTV funding 2007-08

0

0

0

0

7.0

1Basis of accounting

In 2004-05 and 2005-06 language service budgets included allocations of transmission costs, studio and studio manager usage, accommodation costs and IT support. In 2006-07, these costs were centralised and excluded from language service costs in order to simplify accounting procedures. Consequently the figures are not directly comparable between 2006-09 and prior years.

2Note 2006-07—change in arrangements for BBC Monitoring

2005/06 b/fwd: £208.1 million

SR2004 increase: £6.5 million

Transfer to Cabinet Office re BBCM: £-6.1 million

Adjusted 2006/07: £208.5 million