Mrs Charlotte Smallwoodwritten evidence (BFF0017)


House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into BBC future funding



  1. Obviously, consumer habits have changed. News and entertainment are often sourced/streamed on mobile devices and this is irreversible -as is the ability of any individual and group to post what they like from just about anywhere in the world. I don’t think the big screen in the home will disappear since ‘big screen’ experience enhances film, tv and music video consumption. Also, many films go straight to streaming and paid for live stream experience of theatre and concerts is here to stay.


  1. The national broadcaster is more important than ever, I believe. Firstly, it is the source of trusted information. I think the pandemic -for instance the important messaging about the safety of vaccines- has shown this to be true. I would also add that the conflict in Ukraine has only added to that feeling. It really is wide ranging and caters for minority tastes….












  1. I have thought long and hard about the funding model. General taxation would put the BBC at the mercy of a government who could stifle it when the messaging was uncomfortable. One can just imagine a culture secretary doing a PM’s bidding when the government of the day was trying to suppress a news story.




The BBC has a mission – and the principle of universality is at the heart of its mission- together with the Reithian values to educate, inform and explain which it does superbly well.



  1. My impression is the BBC is changing, using I player as a free streaming service and in the longer term, when I hope the licence fee situation is settled, it needs to continue to reach out to regional audiences and people young and old.


  1. The government needs to point out how the BBC represents good value for money. I think it costs my household about 43 p per day (I’d happily pay more) when I think my electricity bill alone will soon cost £5 per day- and I heat with oil. I think we must accept that as a society we pay for things such as libraries, social care, children’s education, and NHS services which we may not use but have available for the greater good. And, as with other taxes, people must be made to pay. Finally, changing the discourse and avoiding the BBC as a political tool would be great! Remember the Orwell quotation outside the BBC- ‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’ never seemed so apt.



March 2022