By Ray Fleming

IT was only a matter of time and place before Britain's Lib-Con coalition government fired its opening shots at the BBC. Yesterday was the time and the place was the Daily Telegraph

In a bullying article the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wrote about “extraordinary and outrageous waste” and changing “the huge number of things the BBC does”. He guaranted “absolutely” that “viewers will be paying less in future”.
But how much less? At the moment the annual licence fee for TV and radio works out at just over 40p a day. The Daily Telegraph costs 90p a day and, offers only a tiny fraction of the information, entertainment, sport and culture provided by the BBC.

How long does the average person spend reading his or her newspaper? In almost all cases, much less than the time spent watching or listening to BBC programmes.

That is not to criticise a newspaper which gives good value for money but to put into perspective the incomparable value for money that the BBC licence fee represents. There may well be a case in present circumstances for reducing some BBC costs but it should be done with respect for what the Corporation achieves and stands for in the world of broadcasting -- not in hectoring manner adopted by Mr Hunt in his article yesterday. Furthermore the decision to put the National Audit Office into the BBC to crawl over its books should be dropped.

It is an improper intrusion in an independent public organisation.

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