Amendment 88

Part of Media Bill - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 22 May 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 7:45, 22 May 2024

My Lords, I rise to speak to my Amendment 91. The noble Lord, Lord Foster, outlined in his usual articulate manner the issues we are looking at in this group. We created Ofcom, and it is a hugely important regulator with a growing portfolio of responsibilities. This is a good time to look at whether it is being properly and adequately resourced, and supported in a way consistent with the enormous responsibilities it carries. In a way, that is what my amendment is about. There is a broader issue here than just Ofcom being accountable under this legislation. It is important that we have a good look at how Ofcom is supported to do its job properly. That might include looking at how the chair is appointed, or it may be a matter of resourcing.

We need to ask whether Ofcom is properly accountable to Parliament, in a way consistent with the important job it does. If we expect Ofcom to deliver robust regulation and protect our PSBs, viewers and listeners, we need to be sure that it is doing that job adequately and moving quickly when it needs to in order to deal with complaints and breaches of the regulatory framework for which it is responsible. So it is a question of confidence and accountability, and I want us to be confident that Ofcom is doing its job properly and has the right accountability to Parliament, given the growth in its work. I want to hear from the Minister that the Government are aware that this is not just business as usual for Ofcom now, because it is not.