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6 December 2011

Research conducted by Landman Economics assesses the economic and cultural impacts of the cuts inherent in Delivering Quality First.

The study which offers a new analysis of existing published research from sources such as Deloitte, NESTA, Skillset and the BBC itself, looks at the loss to the economy presented by the standstill licence fee as well as the negative cultural effects of cuts in programming investment.

The report highlights Deloitte's 2010 finding that the BBC's licence fee receipt of £3.97bn delivered gross value added (GVA) of £6.93bn. This GVA figure, which reflects the wider benefit to the economy produced by BBC expenditure, is set to reduce by £1.1bn by 2016/17 if DQF is not challenged.

The report also looks at the regional impacts of the cutbacks highlighting London, the South West, Scotland, the North West and Birmingham as major casualties.

Read the full report

Cultural impacts

Looking at the cultural impacts, the document provides a breakdown of the planned reduction in spending on TV and radio services which ranges from 83 per cent on BBC HD to 11 per cent on BBC News and Radio 4.

The author, Howard Reed, writes:

".... while expenditure on the BBC's mainstream "flagship" TV and radio channels is being cut by less than the average (eg. BBC1, Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 4) many (although not all) of the smaller channels which account for much of the wide diversity of the BBC's output are being cut by more than average (for example, BBC Three, BBC Four, Radio 4 Extra and the Asian Network.).

"Without countervailing action to increase the diversity of the BBC's offer on its flagship channels, it seems clear that this strategy will reduce the breadth of appeal of the services that the BBC is able to offer."

Value for money

The research also addresses the public's appreciation of the BBC and the extent to which this translates into a willingness to accept an increased licence fee. The conclusions drawn are not definitive.

The findings of a 2011 YouGov poll suggest "that one reason why a substantial minority of people think the licence fee is not good value for money is because of the perception that BBC executives are overpaid. 78% of respondents to the July 2011 survey thought that 'BBC executives are paid too much'."

Union campaign

Following the joint unions' agreement with the BBC last month on the conduct of talks which averted strike action, the unions are committed to challenging DQF both internally and externally. Today, 6 December, a lobby of Parliament is taking place followed by a public meeting in Committee Room 14 at the House of Commons from 6.30pm.

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