26th Oct, 2016

Draft charter will leave BBC stronger than ever says Evesham's MP

Joshua Godfrey 26th Sep, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

EVESHAM’S MP Nigel Huddleston has backed the Government’s draft BBC charter and claimed it has put to bed the ‘doom and gloom’ scare stories about the future of the broadcaster.

The Mid Worcestershire MP, who is also a member of the influential Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, made the comments after the details of the draft 11-year BBC Royal Charter were revealed.

Details in the draft charter include the licence fee rising with inflation for the next five years, all salaries of the corporation’s stars who earn more than £150,000 will be revealed and the BBC Trust will be abolished and replaced with a new unitary board.

In response, the BBC has said it is ‘disappointing’ they would have to reveal the pay of their top talent and added it is likely to cause a ‘massive headache.’

Mr Huddleston said: “The new BBC Charter builds on its strong points, prioritising its independence and ensuring it has a solid and exciting future for years to come.

“Despite all the doom and gloom scare stories this charter will give us a BBC that is stronger than ever.

“Where in the past there have been clear weaknesses, such as in openness and transparency, much needed changes have been made.

“I am glad that many of the recommendations those of us on the Select Committee made will be implemented.

“Licence fee payers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent to a much greater degree than they currently do, including the large sums of money being spent on BBC talent.”

Mr Huddleston also welcomed the decision by the chair of the BBC Trust Rona Fairhead to resign to ensure the recruitment process for the new head of the unitary board was ‘fair and transparent.’

“On the subject of the appointment of the Chair of the new BBC unitary board, most of us believe that in all cases the best person for a job should get it,” he added.

“Whilst Rona Fairhead was undoubtedly extremely capable, an open, fair and transparent recruitment process is always preferable to a closed shop appointment.”