BBC Director-General Lord Hall and Chairman Sir David Clementi are to give evidence to the first hearing of the new Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its associated bodies, including the BBC, on behalf of the House of Commons and the electorate.
The decision to call in the BBC follows a number of developments including Lord Hall’s intention to step down early, plans to close 450 news journalist posts, a consultation on decriminalising non-payment of the TV licence fee, changes to the licence fee for over-75s and continued questions over equal pay.
Director of Policy Clare Sumner will also give evidence at the session which will be held at 10.00am on Thursday 12th March.
“The BBC has made headlines for the wrong reasons in recent months – axing hundreds of news posts, asking over-75s to pay up, and digging into budgets to settle equal pay claims,” asserted Julian Knight MP, DCMS Committee Chair. “Unprecedented changes in how we watch and listen mean the broadcaster faces a fight for its future.”
“We’re concerned about the BBC’s preparations to deal with these challenges, particularly when its Director-General has decided to step down at such a critical time. The Committee will be scrutinising the corporation’s planning as a priority to ensure that the interests of licence fee payers are at its heart and will be holding its senior leadership to account.”