Page last updated at 03:14 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 04:14 UK

Tories could 'rip up' BBC charter

BBC Television Centre
Mr Hunt said he had not decided the timing of changes to BBC governance

A Conservative government could "rip up" the BBC's royal charter, the shadow culture secretary has suggested.

The current royal charter allowing the BBC's licence fee expires in 2015.

But Jeremy Hunt told the Financial Times that the corporation was "out of touch with the hard times the rest of the electorate is going through".

He said the BBC's structure had "failed", adding that Tories in power would have a "very fundamental root-and-branch discussion with the BBC".

'Cheerleader'

Mr Hunt said he had not made any decisions about the timing of any changes to the BBC's governance.

But he said he would replace the current BBC Trust which he said acted as both cheerleader and regulator.

"We are looking into whether it would be appropriate to rip up the charter in the middle of it, or whether one should wait," he added.

Mr Hunt said the Tories would scrap plans in the government's digital Britain bill for a 50p-a-month tax on all telephone lines to help pay for superfast broadband access across the UK.

He would also end proposals to require the BBC to share about £130m from the licence fee with other broadcasters.

Mr Hunt added that he wanted to improve the market for commercial TV in the UK by deregulation, rather than by spending taxpayers' money.

He said he wanted to ensure that the BBC's dominance did not stifle the commercial sector.

Offering an example, he said: "It might sound well and good for them to have, say, an angling website, but if it drove out of business every angling magazine in the country, you would have to question if it was the right sort of thing to do."



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