Spending review: Huge S4C concern on funding - Huw Jones

S4C headquarters in Cardiff S4C is the corner stone enabling the production of high quality programmes in Welsh, says TAC

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Welsh language TV channel S4C says it has "huge concerns" about its future funding ahead of next week's UK government spending review.

TV producers have also written to Culture Secretary Maria Miller asking for a halt to cuts in S4C funding.

Trade body TAC says further cuts for the TV channel would appear "disproportionate".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) would not comment on "speculation" before Wednesday.

S4C received £6.7m from DCMS in 2013, down from £101m in 2010.

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This combination of circumstances and events causes huge concern to S4C about the government's intentions”

End Quote Huw Jones Chairman, S4C Authority

Huw Jones, the chairman of the S4C Authority, said: "It is already confirmed that DCMS has agreed with the Treasury that their budget will be cut by 8%."

He added that a week ago the chairman of the English Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette, announced his satisfaction with an agreement with DCMS and the Treasury and that cuts to the arts, museums and galleries in England would be limited to 5%.

A meeting between him and Mr Jones and Ms Miller was cancelled and despite many requests no other meeting had been arranged, he added.

"This combination of circumstances and events causes huge concern to S4C about the government's intentions," he said.

The open letter on behalf of the Welsh TV producers states: "If every £1 you invest in S4C generates nearly £2 for the Welsh economy, it follows therefore that conversely, for every £1 of S4C's budget that is cut, the Welsh economy will lose double this amount."

'Ring-fenced'

Conservative Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies told BBC Radio Cymru's Post Prynhawn programme that S4C's funding from DCMS should be ring-fenced.

He said it was important to stress the importance of the channel to the Welsh language and culture to Ms Miller.

Mr Davies said while the government had to scrutinise its spending S4C should be treated as a special case and not face further cuts.

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As you might expect, our response to this is that the chancellor will be making a statement on government spending plans for 2015/16, and we will not be commenting on speculation about it in advance.”

End Quote Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society) has also written to Ms Miller saying the channel should not face further cuts.

In a statement DCMS said: "As you might expect, our response to this is that the chancellor will be making a statement on government spending plans for 2015/16, and we will not be commenting on speculation about it in advance."

Earlier this year it was claimed the independence of the broadcaster was safeguarded in an agreement outlining its relationship with the BBC.

The new partnership was agreed following public consultation over plans to fund most of S4C's activities from the BBC licence fee from April.

S4C will remain independent, also receiving UK government funding and generating its own revenue.

At the time the S4C Authority called it a "historic development for Welsh broadcasting".

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