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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 15:12 GMT
Reaction to the BBC Green Paper
BBC Television Centre
The government wants the licence fee to stay until 2016
The BBC will continue to be funded by the licence fee for at least 10 years under government plans announced by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell on Wednesday.

But she said she planned to abolish the BBC's board of governors and replace them with a new Trust to oversee performance and an Executive Board responsible for day-to-day operations.

The BBC should also give higher priority to public-interest programming, warning that it should not chase "ratings for ratings' sake".

Michael Grade
Michael Grade had tried to make BBC governors more independent
Michael Grade, BBC chairman

This is a strong endorsement of the BBC as the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in the UK now, and through digital switchover.

On behalf of the board of governors, I accept the government's conclusions for future governance of the Corporation.

It is regrettable that our own reforms have not had time to prove themselves. But it is important that the issue has now been settled ahead of the new charter, providing the BBC with the necessary certainty and stability.

The Government's decision to opt for its new Trust model heralds the biggest change in the governance of the BBC in 77 years.

Mark Thompson, BBC director general

The BBC faces exciting and daunting new challenges over the next decade.

The Green Paper endorses the ambitious public purposes we set out in Building Public Value [the BBC's own proposals for its future] and adding for the first time an explicit purpose for the BBC to lead the building of digital Britain.

A 10 year charter and secure funding for the BBC will give us the right foundation on which to take on these challenges.

Audience expectations are rising all the time and it's hard to predict what platforms, technology and innovations might emerge between now and 2016.

But the assurance that original, British content, consistently aiming for excellence, from the BBC will be a guaranteed fixture of any future landscape is good news for the industry and our audiences.

Kelvin MacKenzie, former Sun editor, chief executive of The Wireless Group, which owns Talksport radio

It was great in a one channel, two channel, three channel environment. But actually its moment has come and gone.

Don Foster, Liberal Democrat culture spokesman

The government's proposals are largely welcome but don't go far enough on the issue of governance.

The proposal for a board of trustees is a move in the right direction, but it perpetuates the serious conflict of interests that existed under the governors.

We need a tough, new independent regulator to ensure that all public service broadcasters live up to their obligations to the public.

The Liberal Democrats will work to ensure that the new BBC charter retains the BBC as the world's leading public service broadcaster - strong, independent, and securely funded.

Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell revealed the proposals on Wednesday
Tessa Jowell, culture secretary

We want to keep the BBC strong, while ensuring that it does not become overmighty in its dealings with the wider market.

We need it to be constrained when its interests collide with the commercial sector.

It must not be tempted to use the unique clout the licence fee gives it to step on the toes of other broadcasters.

It should not play copycat. Or chase ratings for ratings' sake. Or put legitimate businesses at peril.

Damien Tambini, author and public policy expert

We need to ask if the BBC governors have been abolished or if they have simply been renamed.

Will the trust be sufficiently independent of the management of the BBC and will it actually have any teeth?

John Whittingdale, Conservative shadow culture secretary

In many areas, the direction for the BBC set out in the statement we believe is the right one. But in almost every case it does not go far enough.

It proposes a number of largely cosmetic changes to the structure and oversight of the BBC.

But it appears that once again the BBC has successfully fought off all proposals for substantial or immediate change.

The government appears content to tinker at the edges of the existing structure, while allowing the BBC to continue for another ten years with business as usual.

Luke Johnson, Channel 4 chairman

I'm not very surprised. The BBC is essentially the establishment and I'm sure all the senior figures would rather fall on their swords than have someone top slice their licence fee.

Clearly Channel 4 will have to carry on living on its wits and remain in the market place.

Sir Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics and a member of Lord Burns' panel

I think the outcome is a fudge. We have a BBC Trust, which if you read the Green Paper carefully, is not in fact a Trust at all.

I'm afraid that although the diagnosis of the Green Paper is a good one and owes a lot to Lord Burns, the solution is not.

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