Saturday, July 24, 2010

S4/C's Budget.

The BBC and Western Mail have really gone to town today on a story that the budget of S4/C is to be cut by 25%. Where on earth did they get this from. Same last week with a story about 500 (or was it 800) jobs going at Powys County Council. That was an old (very old) story and there are to be no compulsory redundancies. I think the Beeb just lifted it from a local newspaper. Dropping standards to accommodate cuts perhaps. But let's return to the funding position of S4/C. Earlier today, I published on Facebook, and its already stimulated quite a bit of comment - so I'm asking the same question here. I have not been keen to join in the media frenzy, because it looks like a completed dreamed up story - and the media loves talking about itself. Only reason I can blog about the issue is that I don't have the slightest idea what this is all about.

The S4/C budget is a touch over £100 million per year. Broadcasting is not devolved, so it comes out of the DCMS budget, which may well be subject to a massive cut in the Comprehensive Spending Review, expected on October 20th (I think). The sort of percentages we've seen mentioned are 25% (and even 40%). The question I asked on my Facebook profile was whether S4/C should be shielded from any reduction in its budget in these circumstances. There has already been a cut of £2 million, which threatened to blow the top off 'the Elfynometer' (a special sort of temperature gauge resident in Meirionydd Nant Conwy for those of you unfamiliar with Mr Llwyd MP). Just imagine what 25% would do. There'd be a volcanic ash cloud over Bala.

Best comment on my Facebook site was that S4/C should be devolved - so that the National Assembly Government could decide whether to protect the channel's budget, while cutting education and health! I think there might be a bit less bluster coming from the Plaid Cymru direction. All the conversations I've had with people close to the action are that devolution of broadcasting is the last thing that broadcasters want. Anyway, its your chance to comment.

P.S. I notice that the BBC use S4C rather than S4/C. I thought a small fortune had been spent coming up with the extra slash. Anyone know what happened.

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