House of Commons Tuesday 18th October 2016
House of Commons Tuesday 18th October 2016 about BBC’s new Charter, Tom Watson Mp, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport kindly paid tribute in the debate to the work of Save our BBC and our fellow campaigns supporting the BBC.
“We will always make the case for a strong, independent and well-funded BBC. That was what we did in government and it is what we intend to do in opposition. I hope that we can move on from the days when a small group of campaigners routinely questioned whether the BBC should exist at all. For a handful of people, the licence fee that has funded the BBC for nearly a century is an aberration. They believe that the only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit. Perhaps they believe that 40p a day is an outrageous price to pay for the BBC’s startling array of television and radio news coverage, current affairs programmes, natural history, drama, comedy and children’s programmes. Perhaps they would rather see the BBC smaller and a little duller. I do not believe that and the British public do not believe it either. That was why there were 192,000 responses to the Government’s consultation on the future of the BBC, and why the overwhelming majority were favourable and supportive.
I pay tribute to the campaigners whose tireless work helped to deliver a BBC charter that is likely to secure its future: the Great BBC campaign, founded by Lord Waheed-Alli and Charlie Parsons; the Save our BBC campaign; the 38 Degrees petition to protect our BBC, which now has over 390,000 signatures; and all the creative industry trade unions, including the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union, Equity, the Musicians’ Union, the National Union of Journalists and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. All came together in a coalition to defend the BBC. They raised awareness, generated support and helped to deliver those 192,000 responses to the Government’s consultation. On both sides of the House, we are indebted to them all.”