Digital Economy Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 13th September 2016.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 1:12 pm, 13th September 2016

Absolutely. That is one of the areas on which we will seek much greater clarification.

While celebrating the contribution of the creative industries, we note the Government have not taken the opportunity to update authors’ rights for e-book lending. This part of library lending is growing despite, or perhaps because of, the drastic cuts to library services under this Government, so would now not be an opportunity to update those rights?

There are a number of areas where we have significant concerns. The BBC is one of the cornerstones of our £84 billion creative industries. Its successes are something that we on the Labour Benches celebrate. Protecting the BBC is crucial. The Bill makes policy for funding TV licences for the over-75s the responsibility of the BBC. The National Union of Journalists estimates it will cost the BBC £1.3 billion over five years, and then £750 million each year. That represents a 20% cut in licence fee income, which could pay seven times over for our 30 local BBC radio stations or fund Radio 4 eight times over. It could pay for 30 “Great British Bake Offs”. Ministers would do well to consider that before depriving the British public of their favourite shows. We accept that funding and policy must go together.