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Culture Secretary John Whittingdale gives evidence on BBC public purposes

17 November 2015

On Tuesday 17 November, in the final session of the House of Lords Communications Committee's inquiry into the Public Purposes of the BBC, the Committee questions the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP. Beforehand, the Committee speaks to representatives from Arqiva.


The evidence sessions take place on Tuesday 17 November in Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster.

First panel

At 3.30pm:

  • Steve Holebrook, Director of Terrestrial Broadcast, Arqiva
  • Anirban Roy, Director of Public Policy, Arqiva

Second panel

At 4.30pm:

  • Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Possible questions

In the first session, the Committee looks at the sixth Public Purpose, which concerns "emerging communications technologies and services".

The witnesses face questions on issues including:

  • whether the sixth Public Purpose is still relevant in 2015 and beyond, and whether it should be re-worded or clarified;
  • whether the BBC should cut back on its wide range of services;
  • how important the BBC's investment in DAB is for the growth and sustainability of the platform, and whether that role belongs to the BBC; and
  • their experiences of working in partnership with the BBC.

In the second session the Committee are likely to ask the Culture Secretary:

  • how the Government will ensure that the public has an equal voice in the debate on Charter Renewal;
  • whether there has been sufficient time allowed for a comprehensive Charter Review process;
  • whether the Charter process should be uncoupled from the General Election cycle, and if he has any plans to make this happen;
  • how he responds to the idea that the BBC should be enshrined in statute, ensuring no changes take place without full Parliamentary approval;
  • whether there is a danger that, in this debate on the BBC, the focus is on money as opposed to social benefits.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright