Public Service Broadcasting

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 10th February 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

Our public service broadcasting system is a critical part of our media landscape. We are committed to making sure that it continues to thrive in the face of a rapidly changing broadcast sector. That is why we are undertaking a strategic review looking at making sure that the PSB system delivers for audiences and supports the success of our incredible creative sector. We will set out the conclusions of that review in due course.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

I want to put on the record my thanks for a useful meeting with the Minister this week about social tariffs for mobile devices. Channel 4 is close to my heart, as it is to those of many hon. Members. Will she assure me that any future owner of Channel 4 will be as committed to using small, local producers and providers as Channel 4 is at present? Have the Government carried out a risk assessment on what privatising Channel 4 might mean for small, local, important British producers?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

It was a pleasure to meet the hon. Member this week to discuss the important issue of social tariffs as well as Union connectivity, which I know he feels passionately about. Channel 4 is valued by all of us. There is a debate to be had, however, about the best ownership structure for it. The Government believe that one of the strengths that any future buyer might see in Channel 4 is its links with independent producers—small independent producers in particular—and, were we to decide to sell it, we would very much want to see that protected.

Photo of Robert Largan Robert Largan Conservative, High Peak

An important part of public broadcasting is radio. Last October, the Government’s review into digital, audio and radio found that the Hope valley in my constituency has very poor DAB—digital audio broadcasting—service. What are the Government doing to improve digital radio access for rural communities such as the Hope valley?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

I thank my hon. Friend for raising the needs of the Hope valley, which he is right to do. We have conducted a review of this area, and we have been working with commercial radio and the BBC on this issue for a number of years. We do not expect them to be doing a great deal of extra work on DAB roll-out, but I am happy to continue looking into the matter and to consider the issues he highlights in his own patch.