Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 5:15 pm, 8th February 2017

I add my support to these amendments and also pay my respect to the noble Lord, Lord Best, who so ably chaired the Communications Committee, of which I was a member, and produced this report. As everyone in this debate has said, a greater level of transparency must be introduced into the setting of the licence fee. Never again can there be backroom deals.

What these amendments seek to achieve is that in future there will be clarity and public scrutiny. The public, after all, pay the licence fees. These are moderate proposals which will rightly leave an elected Government with the final say in determining the BBC’s revenue, but introduce an important element of accountability into the process, which is surely appropriate for such a vital national institution. There is obviously room for debate as to which body oversees this process, but I hope that the noble Lord agrees that there should be a more open and transparent process.