Chris Bryant MP warns of 'shrunk' S4C funding in future

Y Gwyll
Image caption One of S4C's big successes is Y Gwyll (Hinterland)

There is a real danger that S4C's funding will be "shrunk" by the Conservative government, according to a Labour MP.

Shadow Culture Secretary Chris Bryant said the Welsh language broadcaster had "triumphed" despite cuts to its budget in recent years.

S4C receives £75m, the bulk of its money, from the BBC licence fee.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said S4C was an "important part" of UK broadcasting.

The channel also receives £7m funding from the UK government, as well as some commercial income.

Negotiations over the future size and funding of the BBC will begin in the summer as part of the renewal of its royal charter.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionS4C chairman Huw Jones said it is important the channel was heard in the negotiations about the BBC's licence fee renewal

Mr Bryant, the MP for Rhondda, said he did not trust the new government with the future funding and feared S4C could suffer as a result of any changes to the BBC's arrangement.

"I think that they want to shrink the BBC and if they're shrinking the BBC and S4C is (partly funded by) the BBC, then there's a real danger that S4C will be shrunk as well," he said.

S4C had "triumphed" in the face of a 36% cut to its budget since 2010, he said, but added that "now we need to make sure they can continue to do so into the future".

"I will be holding [new Culture Secretary] John Whittingdale's feet not just to the fire, but frankly in the fire, if they get this wrong."

Image caption S4C now receives most of its funding from the BBC licence fee with a top-up from the DCMS

Mr Whittingdale turned down a request for an interview.

The DCMS said: "Future decisions on the licence fee will be considered as part of the Charter Review process."

S4C chairman Huw Jones welcomed Mr Whittingdale's appointment and said he wanted to ensure S4C was fully considered in future negotiations over the BBC's structure and funding.

"We don't want something to happen, as happened in 2010, where discussions took place behind closed doors and S4C wasn't involved, and the people of Wales weren't involved. And we've had assurances, pretty generally, that won't be the case again."

Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, Glyn Davies, said he could understand why S4C wanted financial security and it was "inevitable" that Welsh MPs from all parties were concerned.

"Clearly there's a case over the few years of the government having to cut back and the discussions I had at the beginning of the last parliament were difficult because we were breaking the link between inflation and S4C.

"I'm confident in the future. It's unique and it's hugely important and I'm sure the UK government will recognise that."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites