Wales

Cheryl Gillan Wales broadcasting pledge to Lord Patten

Cheryl Gillan
Image caption Cheryl Gillan met Lord Patten to discuss the future of broadcasting in Wales

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan says she emphasised her commitment to a "vibrant broadcasting sector in Wales" at a meeting with the BBC Trust chairman.

Mrs Gillan met Lord Patten to discuss the future of broadcasting in Wales.

From 2013, S4C will be funded from part of the BBC licence fee, following a decision by the UK government.

Mrs Gillan said it was agreed enough time was needed to allow S4C and BBC to establish governance arrangements reflecting S4C's "unique status".

Lord Patten has said he wants a "creatively independent" S4C when the BBC takes responsibility for its funding.

Mrs Gillan and Lord Patten also discussed how BBC Wales was in a strong position to "reap benefits from the transfer of more drama and factual programme production out of London".

She said they both recognised the BBC would need to take some difficult decisions due to tight public finances, but the "importance of maintaining a strong BBC presence in Wales is an important factor which must be taken into consideration".

"Lord Patten and I also discussed S4C, recognising its unique status and the importance of broadcasting in the Welsh language," said Mrs Gillan.

"It was also agreed that sufficient time was needed to allow S4C and BBC to agree governance arrangements that reflect these principles.

Protests

"I have asked Lord Patten to keep me fully informed of the ongoing discussions regarding both BBC Wales and S4C and emphasised my commitment to a vibrant broadcasting sector in Wales in both English and Welsh."

Campaigners say they are concerned S4C will be funded from part of the BBC licence fee and have carried out several protests.

S4C faces a 25% budget cut by 2015 as part of last autumn's Spending Review by Chancellor George Osborne.

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