HC Deb 27 July 1984 vol 64 cc829-30W
Mr. Tony Banks

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has set up an inquiry into the running of the British Broadcasting Corporation; what individuals will be involved in the inquiry; when the report will be ready; and to whom it will be made.

Mr. Hurd

Under the terms of the existing licence fee settlement, the BBC is required to live within the income provided until 31 March 1985. We therefore expect, later in the year, to receive from the BBC an application regarding a new licence fee. In considering how then to proceed my right hon. and learned Friend formed the view that it would be of great advantage for there to be, alongside the BBC's application, an indpendent and expert assessment of the scope for the BBC to provide its existing services at their present standard but at lower cost through increased efficiency in the use of resources. The Board of Governors have accepted this proposal, which is in line with its continuing concern that the corporation should be run efficiently and effectively and with proper regard to financial discipline. The inquiry will be carried out by independent consultants appointed by the BBC, and the corporation will be consulting us to establish agreed terms of reference. The consultants' report will be submitted simultaneously to the Board of Governors and to the Home Secretary, we hope by the end of this year.