Lucy Powell, the MP for Manchester Central, has hit out at Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ plan to cut the BBC licence fee, describing it as “cultural vandalism” on talkRADIO.
Dorries confirmed yesterday (January 17th) that the licence fee is being frozen for two years, before rising in line with inflation for four years, and made a commitment to review the licence fee, saying this was “likely to be” the final licence fee announcement.
This means that the BBC will receive a cut in funding of £2 billion over the next six years. In an earlier tweet described by one Labour MP as “reckless”, the Culture Secretary said “The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.”
It has been criticised by the Shadow Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport both in Parliament and in the media.
Speaking to the House of Commons in response to Dorries making the licence fee announcement before the government has a strong alternative model in mind, Lucy Powell said: “Is the licence fee really at the heart of the cost of living crisis? Or is this really about [the government’s] longstanding vendetta against the BBC?
“Now it’s part of Operation Red Meat to save the Prime Minister from becoming dead meat.”
Speaking on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s programme on talkRADIO, Powell continued: “The BBC is renowned around the world and our unique model that we have… is known around the world. And with one simple tweet, the Culture Secretary is performing cultural vandalism.
“It’s the only way to describe it. She’s offered no plan for the future for the BBC – she’s just said ‘that’s it.'”