BBC should be increasing programmes, not cutting!

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THE BBC is one of the things that defines this country as a civilised nation and, despite its many flaws (bureaucracy, London-centric, run by middle-class Oxbridge types etc) television programmes like Coast, news and classic comedies are worth the licence fee alone.

That is before BBC radio stations are taken into account.

I’d like to know why BBC bosses are kowtowing to this reactionary Tory/Lib Dem government and carrying out swingeing cuts in BBC output.

This is yet another ideological attack by this right-wing government and their millionaire friends in big business who are lining up to swoop for the profitable sections of the BBC – in the same manner as these parasites did with transport, gas and electricity and who now have their greedy eyes on education and the NHS.

Nationally, the BBC Trust is proposing to make huge cuts (20 per cent) to meet the freezing of the licence fee.

This equates to 2,000 jobs in a programme hypocritically entitled “Delivering Quality First”.

This isn’t just about seeing repeats on the television or cutting costs, it’s about devastating a service that is unique in the world.

And the effects will be severely felt locally.

The BBC Trust is publicly committed to “offering high-quality news, current affairs, and coverage of politics for the English regions...national and local news and current affairs will promote informed debate and enable audiences to build their knowledge and understanding of their own, and other, communities.”

How can they do this with such draconian cuts?

Take, for example, the excellent BBC Newcastle “Inside Out” programme.

This is the one remaining regional current affairs programme exclusively made about the north east and made in the north east.

It is about to be culled.

Anyone who has watched this programme doesn’t have to be told that the level of investigative journalism and information is excellent, and in line with the BBC Trust’s commitment.

Once it’s gone, we in the north east will be expected to accept a film about Crewe or Sheffield as “local”. The loss will never be reversed.

ITV has already pulled out of such regional programmes because they are not profitable.

Since when has the BBC been run for profit?

It is paid for by the tax payer to be informative and educational.

If you want to see where these cuts are leading, listen to commercial radio – constantly interrupted by commercials – playing mindless X Factor songs (lowest common denominator stuff) or bland television shows (anything associated with Simon Cowell).

These shows are popular and obviously have a place and a right to exist.

By the same token, so has something that allows you to think – that’s why I’m only too willing to pay my BBC licence fee.

Any licence fee payers of the same opinion should demand the BBC fulfils its public service broadcasting remit to reflect the north east properly.

It’s our responsibility to let the BBC Trust know how much we value programmes made in and for our region that investigate, challenge those in authority and also reflect our culture and heritage.

Instead of cutting, the BBC should be increasing programmes made in and about the north east.

ED WAUGH

Baring Street

South Shields