BBC Wales: Tony Hall promises funding news by March

By Huw Thomas
BBC Wales arts and media correspondent

  • Published
Media caption,
Lord Hall is questioned by Labour AM Lee Waters

The BBC's director general has told assembly members any additional funding for programming in Wales will be announced by March 2017.

Tony Hall was appearing before the assembly's culture, Welsh language and communications committee.

He said he understood "frustration" at the time it was taking to increase spending on English language TV that reflects Welsh life.

During occasionally fractious exchanges, Labour committee member Lee Waters accused Lord Hall of stalling over the issue.

"With the greatest of respect, you've been making empathetic comments for some time now," said Mr Waters.

Image source, Patrick Olner/BBC
Image caption,
Lord Hall (centre) with Cardiff Council leader Phil Bale (left) and BBC Wales director Rhodri Talfan Davies on a visit to the new BBC Wales HQ building site in Cardiff city centre

"You've been leading us to believe that you've got it, and you'll deliver, but it will be five years before you deliver and in the meantime you're delivering cuts of £9m. So you can understand our anxiety," he said.

Lord Hall responded: "I completely understand your anxiety, I also understand your frustration. But what I am saying to you is we are going to deliver, I do get it."

But Mr Waters said Lord Hall had "failed to deliver" after first identifying the problem two years ago.

A new charter which sets out the role and remit of the BBC for the next 11 years is due to be signed later this month, and will come into effect next year. BBC Wales recently announced a restructure aimed at making savings of £9m by 2022.

Lord Hall confirmed he would keep a pledge to increase the budget for some programming about Wales, but it would be spring next year before the plans can be made public.

"The only commitment I've made to anybody that there'll be extra money is to Wales, and this is for English language programming.

"The (licence fee) settlement is not a settlement of huge riches. We've got to manage our money very carefully, but the good thing we have got is some certainty about our funding."

Image source, Patrick Olner/BBC
Image caption,
BBC Wales staff are due to move from Llandaff to a new headquarters at Central Square in Cardiff in 2019

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