Chancellor George Osborne Wants BBC to be Regulated by Ofcom

By Gerald Lynch on at

Chancellor George Osborne is looking to make sweeping changes to the way the BBC is run, should a Conservative government retain pole position in Parliament following the May 7th general election. Chief among his plans would be to see Ofcom keeping tabs on the BBC as an independent regulator, rather than the BBC Trust.

“The trust arrangement has never really worked. I’ve never understood why the BBC is so frightened of regulation by Ofcom," Osborne told the Radio Times.

“It’s not as if ITV is poorly regulated. Ofcom has proved itself to be a robust regulator.”

The BBC Trust was established in 2007, and replaced a board of governors in establishing the direction the BBC should take, and ensuring the expectations and interests of license fee payers were catered for. However, even the trusts chair Rona Fairhead has questioned its effectiveness, suggesting it should be replaced by an external regulatory body.

Osborne also hinted that, should the Conservatives win the election, further reforms will be made of the BBC. With the royal charter up for renewal at the end of 2016, Osborne hinted that the BBC's "monopoly"-like news coverage would come under review.

“The BBC needs to be the national broadcaster without being a monopoly broadcaster. I think one of the things the BBC has to look out for is not suffocating local news [from other outlets] and making sure they reflect the diversity of opinion in our country and don’t become too monoculture.

“There are plenty of people on [Radio 4’s] Today programme defending every line of government spending. But when do you hear people saying, ‘This comes from my taxes and I don’t want to spend more tax’?” [Guardian]