6. What the Government’s plans are for the future of S4C. (905017)
I was delighted to visit S4C last week to see at first hand the exciting developments at the channel, including the launch of its HD service in time for the European championship. I am sure we all wish Chris Coleman and the boys well.
What assurances can the Secretary of State give us that the UK Government’s review of S4C will not be compromised, as it will be conducted after the BBC’s charter review? Can he confirm that all options will be on the table, including securing an independent financial stream for S4C funded from revenues raised for public service broadcasting, and from direct Government support?
The hon. Gentleman will recognise that a fundamental principle is operational and editorial independence. The BBC White Paper offers protection and support for S4C, but, of course, there is a review ongoing that will look at all these matters, such as governance and financing, in order to secure a long-term future for the channel. [Interruption.]
S4C is crucial to Wales, and particularly to the Welsh language. Does my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State agree that the Welsh language is too often seen as the secondary language in Wales? It is not a secondary language; it is at least equal first.
This Government have a strong record of supporting S4C, and previous Conservative Governments have a strong record of establishing S4C, introducing the Welsh Language Act 1993 and turning around the decline in the Welsh language that we saw previously. We should be rightly proud of the language of our culture and our heritage—a true Conservative policy.