BBC

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:33 pm on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State 12:33 pm, 21st July 2020

I thank my hon. Friend. He is right about the cost of maintaining free TV licences for all over-75s, which is already approaching £750 million and would go on rising. Any Government—and, indeed, the corporation—were going to have to consider that. On his point about regional programming, as we made clear in the recent debate held by my hon. Friend Neil Parish, it is a matter for the BBC, but regional programming is essential. I am pleased that some of the fears expressed about cuts to regional political and current affairs coverage did not materialise, but I am still concerned at the level of cuts that are taking place, and we will be watching carefully to ensure that the BBC continues to fulfil its obligations on regional coverage.