Yesterday I spoke in a debate on the BBC’s regional politics coverage in the wake of BBC plans to cut its local TV news output to reduce costs.
I, and I think many others, have had mixed views on the future of the licence fee but have stopped short of calling for it to be scrapped partly because of the BBC’s regional and local news coverage and its importance to local democracy and keeping people up-to-date on issues which don’t always make national headlines.
Senior executives at the BBC should be careful what they wish for with these plans. Public confidence in the national broadcaster is already shaky with increased concerns of bias in the Corporation’s national news coverage recently and out of touch decisions like the blocking of past episodes Little Britain and other comedies. These plans to cut local TV news coverage, which also set a worrying precedent for radio and stations like BBC Radio Suffolk, could be the tipping point which causes many more people to fundamentally call into question the licence fee and the future of the BBC in its current form.
I hope the BBC will hear the concerns raised by many MPs this afternoon and look instead at tackling the real issues which are causing audiences to become increasingly frustrated.