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Point of Order

Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2011

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Some months ago, the Foreign Secretary announced a cut to the funding of the BBC’s World Service and devolved the budget to the BBC itself. The first wave of cuts to the World Service’s services has now been announced and they apply to Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe. Those cuts have consequences not just for job losses but for the role of the World Service in purveying independent information in those world regions.

I would have expected—and I think the House would have expected—a statement from the Foreign Secretary to inform us about this wave of cuts, so that we could debate them. At the very least, we should have had a written statement, but no statement of any kind has been provided for Members. May I, through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, express the House’s concern that a Minister has not kept Members informed of these important decisions and say that, in future, Members should be afforded at least a written ministerial statement, even if not an oral one in which we could question a Minister?

I have been given no indication of any statement today on the World Service. Although this is not a matter for the Chair, I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the hon. Gentleman’s remarks on the World Service.