Extra funding announced for BBC World Service

An extra £2.2m will be given to the BBC World Service over the next three years, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced today.

The news was welcomed by the BBC Trust, which also announced that £9m has been reallocated to editorial investment in the World Service over the next three years to ‘mitigate the impact of recent funding cuts, following lower-than-expected restructuring costs and pension contributions”.

The Trust said this will support frontline service including the Hindi short wave service, the Somali service and services for the Arab world.

The BBC said it was still working on how the funding will be allocated.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: ‘As Aung San Suu Kyi said only this week, the World Service is a lifeline for those hungry for unbiased news and information about their country and the wider world.

‘It is also an export for British values of fairness, accuracy and impartiality… The additional money will help protect BBC services in the areas where they are most valued and needed.

“However, it does not mean that we will be able to restore all of what has been lost, and there will still need to be some cuts to the World Service as we have known it. We are determined that when we take full responsibility for funding of the World Service after 2014, it will have the priority it deserves.”

Last October it was announced that the World Service’s funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would be cut by 16 per cent. This was followed by news that from 1 April, 2014, it would lose all direct Foreign Office funding and instead be funded out of the BBC budget.

The BBC today said that, following today’s announcement it still need to reduce spending on the World Service by £42m per annum by 2013/14.

The latest announcement comes after Patten indicated last week that he may roll back some planned cuts to the World Service.

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