12 JAN 2016

PM "TO HONOUR S4C FUNDING" AFTER SIMON HART RAISES SUBJECT IN HOUSE OF COMMONS

Simon Hart MP has won a pledge from Prime Minister David Cameron to honour "in word and spirit" a manifesto commitment to safeguard the future funding of S4C.

Last year's Autumn Statement saw a cut in funding for the Welsh language TV station from £6.7 million to £5 million – despite the pledge to "safeguard the funding and editorial independence" of the channel.

But when Mr Hart raised the point in Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday (6 Jan) he was told by Mr Cameron:

"I am very happy to (reinforce my support for the channel and the commitment that we made to safeguard its funding). S4C is a very important part of our broadcasting structure.

"It is very popular and well-liked in Wales. I want to ensure that we meet both the wording and the spirit of our manifesto promise to make sure that it continues to be a very strong channel."

Mr Hart also held a Westminster debate on Tuesday night about S4Cs future funding which was attended by 20 MPs of all parties, despite being held at 2.30am.

"I think the fact that MPs from all five major parties chose to stay and take part in my adjournment debate, even though it took place in the dead of night, reveals that this is a topic that is very important to a lot of people," said Mr Hart.

Mr Hart told the chamber:

"S4C is more than just a TV channel. It has done so much to educate people about the cultural importance and heritage of the country that we are lucky enough to represent.

"It is the second biggest investor in children's programmes in the UK and all on a budget of around £85 million and 150 full-time staff. That is a small proportion of the 18,974 people currently employed by the BBC. Every pound invested by S4C in the creative industries is worth more than £2 to the wider economy."

The station is due to relocate to Carmarthen and 30 satellite companies have already expressed an interest in moving to the area to stay close to the station.

Mr Hart went on: "I can find no argument not to defer cuts pending an independent review of the specific and unique role of the channel. The review should include the impact of the channel on the society, culture and economy of Wales.

"The DCMS announcement, as contained in the Autumn Statement, seems to default on the manifesto commitment."

Following Mr Cameron's pledge in PMQs, Mr Hart said:

"I believe the PM's comments represent significant progress, however the devil may be in the detail and I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure that the Government delivers on this pledge."

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Contact Simon

Write:

Simon Hart MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Or

15, St John St
Whitland
Carmarthenshire
SA34 0AN

Phone:

01994 242002
or 0207 219 3000

Email:

simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk

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