HC Deb 07 March 2000 vol 345 cc606-7W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer of 16 February 2000,Official Report, column 545W, on broadcasting, if he will make a statement on the views expressed by the European Commission in respect of (a) News 24 and (b) future funding options for the BBC. [111900]

Janet Anderson

[holding answer 1 March 2000]The views of the European Commission on BBC News 24 were set out in the Commission's decision on the complaint by BSkyB. The Government welcomed the Commission's decision that licence fee funding dedicated to BBC News 24 is compatible with the Treaty rules. The Government did not, however, agree with the finding that the licence fee funding of BBC News 24 ought to have been notified to the Commission and noted that the finding in relation to notification was not determinative to the decision and was not the subject of argument.

The Commission has not expressed a view on funding options for the BBC, though it has requested information on the digital licence fee proposed by the independent review panel chaired by Gavyn Davies.