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S4C (Funding)

Volume 517: debated on Monday 25 October 2010

The comprehensive spending review secured funding for S4C that will last throughout the next four years. We think that, in partnership with the BBC, we have a settlement that will be sustainable and also reduce the serious problems that S4C was facing in terms of its loss of audience share.

What hope is there for the Government’s respect agenda with the devolved Administrations if the Secretary of State did not even have the courtesy to consult Welsh viewers, the Welsh Assembly Government or even S4C itself over the handing of its funding to the BBC?

We faced severe challenges in regard to public spending. We managed to secure that public spending for the next four years, and at the same time we addressed something that the hon. Lady’s party did not address at all: the fact that over the past five years the weekly reach of S4C had halved. I think that what we have done is an achievement of which we can be proud.

The private sector of television production is very important as a generator of wealth and jobs in my constituency. What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the effects of his cuts on that vital sector—a sector that, if I may say so, only the stupidest of Governments would attack in the middle of a recession?

During my discussions on the future of S4C, I was very aware of the importance of the Welsh independent production sector. That is why I have made it an explicit part of our agreement with the BBC that it will continue to outsource 100% of S4C’s production to the sector. It is also why funding for S4C has been secured for the next four years—funding on which the Welsh production sector depends.