Entertainment

Starmer pleads for BBC and Channel 4 defence against Government's ‘attacks'

The Labour leader said the Government ‘threaten the future' of the BBC and Channel 4.

Sir Keir Starmer has challenged the creative industry to “defend” the BBC and Channel 4 against “the Government’s attacks” which threaten their future.

The Labour leader branded Government plans to privatise Channel 4 and the threat to the BBC as a “direct attack” on the best of Britain’s creative work.

During a speech at the Creative Coalition Festival, he urged the sector to “be bold” and fight for the UK’s public broadcasting services, which he described as a “national treasure”.

He said: “Local news, the World Service, the BBC and Channel 4 are the narrators of our national story.
 
“They create jobs and drive productivity.
 
“The Conservatives threaten the future of these two great institutions.
 
“The plan to privatise Channel 4 and the threat to the BBC as we know it are a direct attack on some of the best of Britain’s creative work.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that the BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next two years and has said she wants to find a new funding model for the broadcaster after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

Nadine Dorries
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that the BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next two years (Steve Parsons/PA)

 
In his speech, Sir Keir said that a commercial BBC would “rob us and the world” of a “valuable cultural export”.

Opening the three-day festival, Ms Dorries unveiled a £50 million investment into the creative industries sector to “drive growth across the UK” as part of the Government’s commitment to “levelling up”.

However, Sir Keir said the privatisation of Channel 4 would put 60 UK production companies out of business “showing that the Government isn’t interested in growth”.

He added: “I want to challenge all of you here today and the wider sector to be bold to come together and assert your collective clout by speaking out in defence of the value of public sector broadcasting against the Government’s attacks.”

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