Sir Keir Starmer, the UK’s opposition Labour Party leader, will tonight urge the screen industries to “speak out in defence of the values of public sector broadcasting against the government’s attacks.”
Starmer’s intervention comes with the BBC on the ropes, with UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ decision to freeze the licence fee for the next two years set to lose it hundreds of millions of pounds, while Dorries is looking into scrapping the fee altogether from 2027. Channel 4, meanwhile, the UK’s other public broadcaster, could be on the brink of being privatized.
Dorries used her Creative Coalition 2022 Festival speech yesterday to reveal she has launched a review into the UK’s creative industries, but she didn’t mention the BBC or Channel 4.
Speaking at the same event tonight, Starmer will say: “The industry should come together and assert your collective clout, speaking out in defence of the values of public sector broadcasting against the government’s attacks.”
The move is Starmer’s first major intervention in the sensitive public broadcasting debate since taking office almost two years ago.
According to briefings of his speech, he will also commit to making Brexit work for the creative industries, pushing for further agreements with the European Union including a visa waiver for touring artists.
“We know the importance of this, and we are fully behind you on it,” he will add.
The Creative Coalition Festival has a packed lineup this afternoon, including former UK broadcasting exec Heather Rabbatts on bullying and mental health and BBC Diversity Head June Sarpong on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Starmer will close the day out at 6pm.
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