Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, with representatives from The Writers Guild and Pact at the lobby of Parliament in support of the BBC on Wednesday 10 June 2015.
16 June 2015
BECTU is one of the main organisations behind a new campaign in support of BBC Charter Renewal and a fair licence fee settlement.
The campaign BBC: Love It or Lose It! is a rallying cry to people across the UK, be they members of the public, or workers in all sectors of media and entertainment, to support the BBC at this critical time in its history.
The Conservative government is preparing its policy on the BBC's future under the stewardship of new culture secretary, John Whittingdale MP.
The concerns of supporters are that a new tranche of austerity measures will see the BBC's funding further cut, or that the BBC's remit could be remodelled with disastrous consequences for the BBC's long-term status and output.
The new campaign is supported by fellow members of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, including Equity, the Musicians' Union and the NUJ.
Disastrous settlement of 2010
In 2010, then director-general Mark Thompson famously agreed an 11th hour agreement with the Treasury which has seen the BBC's income capped since 2011. The agreement was reached without any consultation with the public. Added to which, the BBC took on funding responsibilities, from a reducing income, for the World Service and S4C.
Thousands of BBC jobs have been cut in the intervening years. Continuing pressure on income now means that the future of BBC Three as a broadcast channel has been put at risk.
More ground-breaking, however, is the proposal to move BBC Productions into a wholly owned subsidiary, opening up the majority of BBC production output to competition from the independent sector and allowing BBC producers to provide content for other broadcasters both at home and abroad. BECTU is opposed to the changes as currently formulated.
On Wednesday 10 June, a lobby of Parliament in support of the BBC was followed by a public meeting, organised by Broadcast magazine, which brought together trade union and industry supporters of the BBC. Everyone present was concerned to protect the BBC's unique place in the UK's cultural life as a multi-platform provider of mass appeal and specialist programming.
Chris Bryant MP, the Labour Party's shadow culture secretary, pledged his support for the BBC, which he dubbed 'our cultural NHS', and insisted that the BBC's future relationship with its audience should be based on the principle that everyone puts something in, and everyone gets something out.
The public meeting is the first of many activities which BECTU will support in defence of a fairly funded future for the BBC.
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Updated 18 June 2015 with link to draft MP letters produced for the lobby.