BBC Cuts - There Is An Alternative
There is a quiet crisis unfolding at the BBC
Viewers and listeners do not yet realise the full impact but the BBC as we know it, our BBC, is at risk as a result of repeated attacks on its funding.
The BBC’s strengths are its editorial independence and its integrity: the corporation provides unrivalled training and experience for its staff who produce world-beating television, radio programming and high quality drama and comedy. It supports wide-ranging local and regional coverage and enriches the cultural landscape with events such as the Proms, ensuring the UK’s huge export success in audio-visual markets.
A disastrous licence fee settlement reached as part of the spending review in 2010 is the final blow. A BBC weakened by these cuts will be much more vulnerable to its enemies, who have consistently argued for it to be privatised. This year marks the eighth consecutive year of cuts at the corporation. By the end of the current BBC Charter a further 20 per cent will have been taken from the BBC’s budgets.
This campaign sets out our alternative, drawing on research carried out into the impact of the BBC’s proposed cuts – styled by the corporation “Delivering Quality First”. Watching or listening to BBC News, even today, you will see and hear packages and reports repeated with greater frequency and the same editorial line on a story being taken across different outlets. The misguided ‘less is more’ strategy, dubbed by the BBC ‘fewer, bigger, better’, has already damaged the range and plurality of programming.
The trades unions representing thousands of actors, musicians, journalists, writers and technical and production staff care about the future of the BBC. BBC executives, under Director General Mark Thompson, have capitulated to successive government-imposed cuts to licence fee and Foreign Office funding and this strategy has caused great damage.
We believe there is an alternative settlement which understands the value of the BBC and seeks to protect and preserve it for the future. We call on the new Director General George Entwistle to fight for our BBC.
Signed by Federation of Entertainment Union general secretaries: Bernie Corbett (Writers' Guild of Great Britain), Gerry Morrissey (BECTU), Christine Payne (Equity), John Smith (Musicians' Union), Michelle Stanistreet (National Union of Journalists), Mike Eatwell (industrial officer IT & communications sector, Unite)
What you can do to help:
This is an ideal opportunity for all members of Equity to show BBC Director General George Entwistle just how much the BBC is valued.
1. Write to your MP
It is better to write your own personal letter than a standard or model letter as it shows the strength of feeling you have about the campaign. Relaying personal experiences about the campaign to your elected representative will help to illustrate the key issues.
- Introduce yourself and say where you live and what your work is.
- Clearly and simply explain about the campaign.
- Give examples of how you are affected and why you oppose the cuts.
- Be specific about what you would like your MP to do (i.e. participate in the BBC's public consultation, contact the BBC Trust and local BBC management, raise the issues with the Minister, ask questions in Parliament). Find your MP: www.theyworkforyou.com.
- You can find a model letter in the campaign booklet.
2. BBC Delivering Quality First public consultation – make your views known.
The official BBC public consultation has closed, but that does not stop you from making your views known to the BBC. You can send a letter to George Entwistle, BBC Director General, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA or you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use the arguments from our campaign booklet to support your case or you can download a sample letter here.
3. Get local support for the campaign
Working with others will help the campaign – contact local organisations which are affected by the proposals and ask them for support. You may want to contact non-governmental organisations such as community groups, charities, faith organisations, trade unions and local businesses. You can also write to local councillors, local trade councils and prominent people in your community and ask them to speak out against the BBC cuts.
4. Download the campaign booklet
The campaign booklet is full of information you can use to lobby your MP, incuding:
- The 48 hours that sealed the fate of the BBC: how the licence fee deal was done
- The alternative view: Our proposals for the new Director General
- The social & economic impact of the cuts: research by Landman Economics
- A sample postcard to send to BBC Director General George Entwistle.
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