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Economy Economy

Continue to support S4C

Last updated: 09:47pm 3 December 2019

We will continue to support S4C as a part of a UK broadcasting structure and in its key role promoting the Welsh language, which a Conservative government first protected.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.33

Our verdict

S4C is a Welsh language publisher–broadcaster that commissions 1,700 hours of original content each year from the independent production sector, which is broadcast together with at least 520 hours made for the service by BBC Cymru. It specialises in providing content online as well as television in the Welsh language. S4C aims to reflect “the diversity of society in Wales and within the Welsh audience” locally and internationally. This policy is a promise that government will continue to support S4C.

In August 2017, the government appointed Euryn Ogwen Williams to chair an independent review of S4C. That review published its report in March 2018, making seven key recommendations.

The government’s response to the review was published at the same time, accepting all the recommendations. Particularly significant for this policy is the government’s agreement with the proposal to provide S4C’s public funding entirely through the licence fee from 2022/23. The government response says:

“This reform would provide a single fixed, stable and transparent funding stream which would give S4C the same funding certainty as the BBC.”

On the face of it, withdrawing government money for S4C appears to break this policy promise, but under the existing government funding model, S4C’s budget has been cut by nearly £50 million between 2011 and 2018.  Putting S4C funding on the same footing as the BBC may well turn out to be an improvement.

This is a pledge to “continue” supporting S4C. We think the establishment of the independent review and the acceptance of its recommendations, particularly the commitment to ensuring sustained and stable funding for S4C, are grounds for giving this policy a status of ‘done’.

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