S4C cuts send 'negative message' on Welsh language

TV production gallery

A Conservative MP has criticised cuts on Welsh broadcaster S4C's funding by his party at Westminster.

Guto Bebb's comments follow yesterday's Spending Review with the money S4C receives from the UK government set to be cut from £6.7m to £5m by 2019.

The Aberconwy MP said it sent a "very negative message" about the party's commitment to the Welsh language.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the cut was "in line with savings being made elsewhere".

The channel receives the bulk of its money from the BBC licence fee.

Its funding reduced from £101m in 2009 to £82.8m in 2014/15.

Mr Bebb told BBC Radio Wales: "The financial sum in question is not significant although in the context of S4C's budget, any cut is now problematic, but it does send a very negative message.

"In terms of sending a signal to people who care about the Welsh language, who care about culture, who care about media plurality in a Welsh context, I think yesterday was a missed opportunity."

A DCMS spokesman said the budget cut represented a "modest reduction in S4C's overall funding".

TAC, the trade body for independent TV production companies in Wales, called the settlement disappointing.

Chairman Iestyn Garlick said: "We are disappointed that despite what the chancellor said in his statement about the economic importance of the creative industries, the government has not listened to the argument that S4C's funding is not sustainable without further investment.

"It is unfortunate that such a culturally and economically important institution is being gradually undermined by a constant decrease in real-terms funding."

S4C Authority chairman Huw Jones said it was "inevitable that cuts of this nature will have implications for the range and diversity of the service that we provide and for our ability to take advantage of new opportunities".

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