Culture secretary

“A polar bear on a shrinking ice cap”

Nadine Dorries’ views on the UK’s beleaguered national broadcasting corporation have been polarized since she was promoted to Culture Secretary in September 2021, but in an interview with the Sunday Times she underlined her wish to protect the BBC in the future.

“Our responsibility is to save the BBC from itself, because it’s this polar bear on a shrinking ice cap,” she said. “It’s a global British brand, which needs to be protected.”

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Dorries previously caused ripples by announcing on Twitter in January that she had decided to freeze licensing fees – the BBC’s source of funding – for two years and scrap them altogether in five years.

Although she backed out of this in the days that followed, she nevertheless confirmed the licensing fee freeze, which will mean a loss to the BBC of around £1.5 billion ($2 billion ) over the next five years.

In today’s interview, she appeared to defend the decision, explaining: “I’m afraid the BBC in its current format, in its current funding model, won’t exist in the future. Whether I’m here or not, it will hit the stamps as more and more people refuse to pay the license fee. You have to open your eyes and see what is coming.

The Culture Secretary also has her eye on big tech, apparently inspired by Australia’s system whereby social media companies pay news providers to host their content. Dorries described his plans for the UK system as “Australia plus plus plus” and “Australia with bolts”.

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