John Whittingdale – 1992 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP for Colchester South and Maldon, in the House of Commons on 6 July 1992.

It is with great pleasure that, in this my maiden speech, I follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Shropshire, North (Mr. Biffen), whose views I have long held in great regard. It is also a pleasure to follow my hon. Friends the Members for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Mr. Hawksley) and for Milton Keynes, South-West (Mr. Legg) and the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Keen), all of whom made excellent maiden speeches and made my task considerably more difficult.

As this is the first time that I have spoken in the Chamber it is only right that my first act should be to pay tribute to my predecessor, Lord Wakeham. For 17 years John Wakeham represented, first, the constituency of Maldon and Rochford, and then my constituency of Colchester, South and Maldon. He did so with enormous distinction in a way that won him friends throughout the area. I have lost count of the number of people who have come up to me in the past year and told me that I have a hard act to follow. But I have never doubted that they were absolutely right.

In this place, John Wakeham was perhaps better known for his role in Government. He is one of that dwindling band who joined the Government in May 1979 and has remained a member of it ever since. In that time, he has held an enormous variety of positions, but he will be best remembered for his time as Chief Whip when he set a standard against which all his successors are likely to be judged. He once described himself as the Minister for stopping the Government doing silly things. It is a cause of great pleasure to my constituents and all Government supporters that he is still in the Cabinet and still fulfilling that role.

In 1984 John Wakeham suffered severe injuries in the bombing of the Grand hotel at Brighton, which also caused the death of his first wife. I am sure that no one in the House who witnessed it will forget the moment when a few months later he walked back into the Chamber unaided. I remember listening to that event on the radio, and in particular the reception that he was given by hon. Members. It was a tribute to his remarkable courage—a courage that he has displayed every day since that terrible event.

I should also like to mention some of my other predecessors. Before 1983, the Colchester part of my constituency was ably represented by Sir Antony Buck and, before him, by Lord Alport, to both of whom my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin) paid deserved tribute. Previous Members of Parliament for Maldon include Brian Harrison, who now lives in Australia but is still a regular visitor to the district. It was also once represented by Tom Driberg, who will be remembered as one of the more colourful Members of Parliament. Earlier still the constituency was represented by Mr. Quintin Dick, who is said to have spent more than any other hon. Member on bribery at parliamentary elections. I shall not follow his example, even if we do receive increased allowances for our office expenses.

My constituency stretches from the southern part of Colchester to take in the whole of the Maldon district. It is an area rich in history. Colchester was the first Roman capital of England and is Britain’s oldest recorded town. At the end of the Dengie peninsula, at Bradwell, is the chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall—one of the first Christian churches in England. It is just a short distance from Bradwell power station—the first Magnox nuclear power station to be built in Britain.

Maldon itself was made a royal borough in 1171, and almost 200 years earlier was the subject of repeated assaults by invading Danes. The battle of Maldon in 991, in which the great Saxon leader Bryhtnoth was slain, inspired a famous Anglo-Saxon poem. Last year, the battle was re-enacted as part of the millennium celebrations. The House will be glad to learn that my constituents now regard the Danes in a much friendlier light.

The recession has hit my constituents hard. The Colchester Lathe Company has announced its intention to cease production, light industrial companies throughout Essex have shed labour, and retailers, small business men, and the construction industry continue to suffer from lack of demand.

Confidence among Essex business men remains low. I am frequently asked what are the Government doing to bring about an upturn. I have always replied that it is not in the Government’s power to conjure up recovery. Only business can create lasting jobs, and it is the Government’s duty to create the right climate in which enterprise can flourish.

Having spent almost three years as special adviser to three of my right hon. Friend’s predecessors as President of the Board of Trade, I read with interest his proposals to reorganise the Department of Trade and Industry. I welcome in particular his efforts to improve communications between that Department and industry and to reduce further the regulatory burdens on business.

However, the key to recovery lies more with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As I said, it is primarily for the Government to create the economic conditions in which recovery can take place. In the words of my right hon. Friend’s amendment, that can best be done by controlling public spending, reducing taxation, relieving business of burdens, and, above all, getting inflation down. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Chancellor on his success in achieving that aim, and agree that nothing must be done to jeopardise the progress made so far. I hope, however, that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will take the earliest possible opportunity to reduce interest rates again. With inflation falling, the real level of interest rates is actually rising, which is adding to the difficulties facing my constituents.

I hope also that when interest rates fall again, that will be reflected in the rates charged by banks to small business men. I am concerned that too often they tell me that, despite the nine reductions in interest rates, the interest on their loans has not fallen accordingly—or that they have had to pay more in other charges.

The other essential requirement for recovery is continued control of public expenditure. In that, I agree absolutely with my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, South-West. It is understandable at a time of recession that the public sector borrowing requirement will increase. Although it is higher than I would like, I am reassured that it is less than the average under the last Government, and that it is this Government’s intention to restore it to balance in the medium term. That will not be easy. It will require my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, like Ulysses, to lash himself to the mast and to fill his colleagues’ ears with wax so that they do not succumb to the siren voices in favour of higher public spending.

If my right hon. Friend does that, and if the proportion of our gross domestic product taken by public expenditure can once again be reduced, allowing industry and the public to keep still more of the wealth that they create, then I am confident that, as the recovery gathers pace, the future for commerce and industry in my constituency and throughout the country will be bright.

John Whittingdale – 2016 Statement on the BBC


Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 12 May 2016.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement.

The Government are today laying before Parliament and depositing in the Libraries of both Houses a White Paper on the BBC charter review. The royal charter is the constitutional basis for the BBC. It is the framework for how the BBC is governed and guarantees its independence. The current royal charter will expire at the end of 2016; today we lay out our plans for the next one.

The White Paper represents the culmination of 10 months’ work. I thank everyone who contributed to the Green Paper consultation process, not least 190,000 members of the public. I am also very grateful to Sir David Clementi and his team for their independent review of the governance and regulation of the BBC, to the Committees in both Houses that made recommendations and to all the stakeholders, BBC representatives and others who helped inform our deliberations.

The BBC is one of the country’s greatest institutions, and 80% of those who responded to our Green Paper said the BBC serves audiences very well or well. Every week the BBC reaches 97% of the UK population and 348 million people across the globe, informing, educating and entertaining them and promoting Britain around the world.

It is our overriding aim to ensure that the BBC continues to thrive in a media landscape that has changed beyond recognition since the last charter review 10 years ago and that it continues to delivers the best possible service for licence fee payers. So today we are setting out a framework for the BBC that allows it to focus on high-quality, distinctive content that informs, educates and entertains while also serving all audiences; enhances its independence while also making it much more effective and accountable in its governance and regulation; makes support for the UK’s creative industries central to the BBC’s operations while at the same time minimising any undue negative market impacts; increases the BBC’s efficiency and transparency; and supports the BBC with a modern, sustainable and fair system of funding.

The BBC’s special public service ethos and funding allow it to take creative risks, to be innovative, and to produce high-quality content. That means more choice for listeners and viewers. The BBC delivers a huge amount of outstanding programming, including in drama, news and current affairs, sport, science and the arts. Many programmes have received awards, not least at the BAFTAs on Sunday, and they demonstrate that, at its best, the BBC is still the finest broadcaster in the world. However, as the BBC Trust itself has recognised, in some areas the BBC needs to be more ambitious, particularly in its more mainstream television, radio and online services.

The BBC director-general has called for a BBC that is

“more distinctive than ever—and clearly distinguishable from the market”.

The Government are emphatically not saying that the BBC should not be popular. Indeed, some of its most distinctive programmes, such as “Life on Earth”, “Wonders of the Universe” and “Strictly Come Dancing” on TV, or the “Newsbeat” programme or Jeremy Vine show on Radio 1 and 2 respectively, have very wide audiences because they are so good.

With a 33% share in television, 53% share in radio and the third most popular UK website, and with only 27% of people believing that the BBC makes lots of programmes that are more daring and innovative than those of other broadcasters, commissioning editors should ask consistently of new programming, “Is this idea sufficiently innovative and high quality?” rather than simply, “How will it do in the ratings?” So we will place a requirement to provide distinctive content and services at the heart of the BBC’s overall core mission of informing, educating and entertaining in the public interest, and we will also affirm the need for impartiality in its news and current affairs broadcasts.

The BBC’s existing minimum content requirements will be replaced with a new licensing regime that will ensure its services are clearly differentiated from the rest of the market, enhancing choice for licence fee payers and backed up by robust incentive structures. The BBC will also be required to give greater focus to under-served audiences, in particular those from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds and from the nations and regions, who are currently less well served. That will involve the BBC building on its new diversity strategy, maintaining out-of-London production quotas, and ensuring that it continues to provide for minority languages in its partnerships with S4C and MG Alba.

Over the next charter period, we want the BBC to be the leading broadcaster in addressing issues of diversity. For the first time, diversity will be enshrined in the new charter’s public purposes. This, along with a commitment to serve all audiences in the BBC’s mission, will help hold the BBC to account for delivering for everyone in the UK.

Looking beyond these shores, the BBC World Service is rightly considered across the globe to be a beacon of impartial and objective news. It is a vital corrective to the state-run propaganda of certain other countries. So we will protect its annual funding of £254 million for five years and also make available £289 million of additional Government funding over the spending review period, as announced by the Chancellor last year, so that the World Service can represent the UK and its values around the globe.

All organisations need a governance and regulatory structure that is fit for purpose. The BBC’s is not, and it is no longer supportable for the BBC to regulate itself. Governance failures, including excessive severance payments and the costly digital media initiative, have illustrated that the division of responsibilities between the BBC executive and the BBC Trust is confusing and ineffective. As the independent review led by Sir David Clementi made clear, there is widespread agreement that reform is vital. I can announce today that we are accepting the review’s recommendations.

The new charter will create a unitary board for the BBC that has a much clearer separation of governance and regulation. The board will be responsible for ensuring that the BBC’s strategy, activity and output are in the public interest and accord with the missions and purposes set out in the charter. Editorial decisions will remain the responsibility of the director-general and his editorial independence will be explicitly enshrined in the Charter, while the unitary board will consider any issues or complaints that arise post-transmission. For the first time, the BBC will have the ability to appoint a majority of its board independently of Government. This is a major change, as previously the BBC governors, and then the members of the BBC Trust, were all appointed by Government.

Ofcom has a proven track record as a regulator of media and telecoms. It is the right body to take on external regulation of the BBC. We will require Ofcom to establish new operating licences for the BBC, with powers to ensure that its findings are acted upon. Ofcom will also take charge of regulating the distribution framework and fair trading arrangements for the BBC. It will be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC.

The Government will introduce four further changes to make the BBC more accountable to those it serves. The charter review process will be separated from the political cycle by establishing an 11-year charter to 2027, with an opportunity to check that the reforms are working as we intend at the mid-term. This will be the third longest charter in the BBC’s history, and allows for an orderly transition to the new arrangements. The BBC will become more accountable to the devolved nations; the complaints system will undergo long overdue reform; and new expectations will be set for public engagement and responsiveness. These are major changes to the way that the BBC is governed. They will take time to effect and it is important that this process runs smoothly, so the current BBC chair, Rona Fairhead, will remain in post for the duration of her current term, which ends in October 2018.

The creative sector is one of this country’s great success stories, growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy since 2008 and accounting for £84 billion of gross value added and nearly 9% of service exports. The BBC should be at the core of the creative sector, supporting everyone from established players to SMEs. It is already a major purchaser, spending more than £1 billion on the services of around 2,700 suppliers involved in making programmes for the BBC.

The BBC already allows up to 50% of its content to be competed for by the independent sector. The Government now intend that the remaining 50% in-house guarantee for television should be removed for all BBC content except news and related current affairs output. Unless there is clear evidence that it would not provide value for money, all productions will be tendered. There will be a phased introduction of this requirement, which will open up hundreds of millions of pounds of production expenditure to competition. Not only will this benefit the creative industries, but it is fundamentally a good thing for viewers and listeners, with BBC commissioning editors given greater freedom to pick the most creative ideas and broadcast the highest quality programmes.

The BBC plans to make its in-house production unit a commercial subsidiary. We support these plans in principle, provided they meet the necessary regulatory approvals. However, the BBC can, by virtue of its size and scale, potentially have a negative impact on the media market, crowding out investment and deterring new entrants, so Ofcom will be given the power to assess all aspects of BBC services to see how they impact on the market, with proportionate powers to sanction. Rather than seeing other players as rivals, the BBC should proactively seek to enhance, bolster and work in partnership with the wider broadcasting and creative industries. There will be a focus on that in the new charter. In particular, the BBC will support and invigorate local democracy across the UK, working with local news outlets.

The Government will also consult in the autumn on a new contestable public service content fund that will allow other broadcasters and producers to make more public service content in areas that are currently underserved, such as programmes for children and for black, Asian and minority ethnic audiences. It will be worth £20 million a year, and it will be paid for from unallocated funding from the 2010 licence fee agreement. There will be more transparency in the way the BBC promotes its own services, and a requirement to steer such activity towards areas of high public value. The BBC will be expected to share its content as widely as possible, and it will also be encouraged further to open up its archive so that other organisations and the public can enjoy its many treasures.

The BBC belongs to all of us. Making its archive more widely available is just one part of a broader opening up process. We want the BBC to be much more transparent, in particular about efficiency improvements. The BBC already plans to make £1.5 billion of savings by the end of this charter period, and the BBC Trust has driven some improvements in transparency, but the BBC needs to become more accountable to those it serves. Only 23% of the public believe that the BBC is efficient. Licence fee payers need the BBC to spend the nearly £4 billion they give it every year more wisely. The National Audit Office, which has an outstanding track record, will therefore become the financial auditor of the BBC and will have the power to conduct value for money investigations of the BBC’s activities, with appropriate safeguards for editorial matters. The BBC will also be required to ensure that it is transparent and efficient in its spending by reporting expenditure by genre.

The BBC already publishes data on the salaries of its staff by broad bands, and the names and detailed remuneration packages of those in management earning more than £150,000. The public have a right to know what the highest earners the BBC employs are paid out of their licence fee. The new charter will therefore require the BBC to go further regarding the transparency of what it pays its talent and publish the names of all its employees and freelancers who earn above £450,000—the current director-general’s salary—in broad bands. The Government also expect the new BBC board to consider other ways in which it can improve transparency of talent pay. The BBC will also be required to undertake a root-and-branch review of its research and development activity, laying out its objectives for the future.

Finally, the BBC needs a fair, accountable and sustainable funding system that is fit for the future. There is no perfect model for funding the BBC but, given the stability it provides and the lack of clear public support for any alternative model, the licence fee remains the most appropriate funding model for the next charter period. The licence fee has been frozen at £145.50 since 2010. We will end the freeze and increase the licence fee in line with inflation to 2021-22, at which point there will be a new settlement. In line with the other reforms to funding announced last July, this means that the BBC will have a flat cash settlement to 2021-22. This gives it the certainty and funding levels it needs to deliver its updated mission and purposes, and it will ensure that the BBC will remain one of the best-funded public service broadcasters in the world, receiving more than £18 billion from 2017-18 to 2021-22.

Future funding settlements will be made using a new regularised process every five years, giving the BBC greater independence from Government. The licence fee concession for the over-75s will be protected during this Parliament, although voluntary payments will be allowed. We will give the BBC more freedom to manage its budgets. Protected funding of £150 million a year for broadband and £5 million a year for local television will be phased out. The World Service will be an exception to this, given its enormously important role.

The current licence fee system needs to be fairer, so we will close the iPlayer loophole, meaning that those who watch BBC programmes on demand will now need a TV licence like everyone else. There will be pilots of a more flexible payment system to benefit those on lower incomes and make it fairer for everyone. At the moment, people have to pay for the first year in only six months, meaning six much higher monthly payments. We will take forward many of the recommendations from David Perry QC’s review to make the process of investigating and prosecuting licence fee evasion more effective and fair.

Although the licence fee remains the best way of funding the BBC for this charter period, it is likely to become less sustainable as the media landscape continues to evolve. The Government therefore welcome the BBC’s intention to explore whether additional revenue could be raised at home and abroad from additional subscription services sitting alongside the core universal fee.

The Government are clear that any new subscription offer would be for additional services beyond what the BBC already offers. It will be for the BBC to set the scope of these plans, but we expect it to review progress and success in order to feed into the next charter review process. We would also like to see BBC content become portable so that licence fee payers have access when travelling abroad.

The BBC is, and must always remain, at the very heart of British life. We want the BBC to thrive, to make fantastic programmes for audiences and to act as an engine for growth and creativity. Our reforms give the BBC much greater independence from Government—in editorial matters, in its governance, in setting budgets and through a longer charter period. They secure the funding of the BBC and will help the BBC to develop new funding models for the future.

At the same time, these reforms will assist the BBC to fulfil its own stated desire to become more distinctive and better to reflect the diverse nature of its audience. They place the BBC at the heart of the creative industries—as a partner of the local and commercial sectors, not a rival. The BBC will operate in a more robust and more clearly defined governance and regulatory framework. It will be more transparent and accountable to the public it serves, who rely on the BBC to be the very best it can possibly be so that it can inform, educate and entertain for many years to come. I commend this statement to the House.

John Whittingdale – 2016 Speech on the Business of Sport


Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to the Business of Sport Conference on 11 May 2016.

It is a pleasure to be here with you at this Business of Sport conference, not least following this country having just seen one of the most extraordinary sporting achievements of all time.

I will leave it to others to determine whether Leicester City’s Premiership triumph is a bigger shock than Boris Becker winning Wimbledon at seventeen, or Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, or indeed what Brian Clough achieved with Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Two things are certain, however: what Leicester have done has got the whole world even more excited about English football – and Keith Vaz is going to keep wearing his Leicester City scarf unless someone can wrestle it off him.

It has been an exciting year across all of sport. I have had the good fortune to attend – amongst other events – three huge sporting occasions here in the UK. Wimbledon. The British Grand Prix. And the Rugby World Cup.

The first two are annual staples, and among the most celebrated sporting events on the planet. The Rugby World Cup, meanwhile, was widely seen as the best ever. It was a real testament to the appetite for live sport in this country that – despite England’s exit after just three games – fans still filled stadia up and down the country throughout the tournament. And that appetite for sport has helped to make it big business in the UK.

Sport is a key element of the Government’s broader growth agenda – and a highly successful one.

The Premier League is the best on Earth. Not only are more fans than ever watching in fantastic stadiums, it is one of this country’s most recognised brands – generating £3.4 billion in GVA in 2013/14 and supporting more than 100,000 jobs. 800,000 tourists attended a match last year. The Premier League is broadcast to 730 million homes in 185 countries.

Sport-related consumer spending is worth around £30 billion annually. Motorsport Valley in the Home Counties employs 40,000 people in 3,500 companies.

The Tour de France’s 2014 visit to Yorkshire added £100 million to that county’s economy, and helped draw the world’s attention to the beautiful Dales.

There is of course a very strong link between sport and the tourism sector – for which my department is also responsible.

Just as cycling has enticed people to Yorkshire, so football entices them to Manchester and Liverpool, and tennis brings them to Eastbourne and London.

The sport-tourism link also supports a wide range of jobs in hotels, bars, restaurants, sports marketing and much else besides. One of the reasons that the Government is so much in favour of hosting international sporting events is the economic boost they give to cities and towns.

The Cricket World Cup is coming here in 2019, providing opportunities for places like Southampton, Taunton and Durham.

In 2017, Cardiff will host the Champions League Final.

When Wembley hosted the same event in 2013, London was awash with the red of Bayern Munich and the yellow of Borussia Dortmund – many fans coming over to sample the atmosphere – and spend money – even though an estimated 100,000 didn’t have a ticket for the game.

The Rugby World Cup generated nearly a billion pounds, and provided some terrific entertainment – such as Japan’s historic victory over South Africa. The Rugby League World Cup in 2013 was also a big success – with the final enjoying the biggest ever crowd for a rugby league international.

Most impressive of all, the overall impact of hosting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is expected to be as high as £41 billion of GVA. London was an incredible place to be throughout both.

And we now have the NFL starting to bring games to this country, with three further games this year. This will provide another massive boost. And if a franchise locates here permanently, that will only increase.

A lot of the money that sport in this country generates comes via television rights.

Television has had a revolutionary impact on sport. It famously transformed the domestic popularity of snooker several decades ago, but that enthusiasm has now spread to China – and indeed China’s Ding Junhui recently came within a few frames of becoming the first Asian world champion.

Sky – and now as well BT – have generated huge sums for the sports they screen, whilst helping to grow and sustain interest and participation.

We do not propose to reopen discussion on Listed Sporting Events. Rather than dictate to individual sports, I believe that it is better to allow national governing bodies and other rights-holders to decide for themselves the right balance between reaching a wide audience and generating as much revenue for their sport as they can. But it is our view that the starting point should always be how to ensure the broadest audience can experience live sport.

The consultation leading up to our sports strategy found a widespread eagerness for more coverage of smaller sports and women’s sport. This is something I very much wish to encourage. I know, for example, that weightlifting fans think that Eurosport’s coverage of the sport has been excellent.

I also welcome the Premier League cap of £30 for away supporters for the next three seasons, funded – in part – by their record-breaking TV deal. And I applaud the efforts of some clubs in the Football League to reduce season ticket prices and introduce concessions for young fans. I hope to see much more of this.

A principle of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events is that a minimum of 30 per cent of net broadcasting revenue is put back into grassroots development within that sport. This is very welcome.

Whenever a sport makes significant money from a television deal, I hope it will plough a substantial amount into its grassroots.

For the grassroots of sport are critically important. We want people of all ages and abilities to be inspired to make sport a central part of their lives.

The benefits of this are huge and varied. We know that sport has a positive impact on health, crime, wellbeing and social cohesion. It also has an economic impact. Physical activity adds £39 billion to the UK economy every year – half of which comes from people’s involvement in grassroots sport. The more people get active, the more the economy grows. It’s a virtuous circle.

This was why my excellent Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, launched our new Sports Strategy last year, which explores the many ways we can get many more people active. This includes our consulting on how the corporation tax system might expand support for grassroots sport.

We are determined to back all levels of sport. I also want to see the elite end of sport pulling its weight and supporting the grassroots on which it depends.

After all, in 2012 Jamie Vardy was playing for Fleetwood Town. Now he has several England caps and a Premiership winner’s medal.

Moreover – as I am always quick to remind anyone who will listen – Alastair Cook started his career at Maldon Cricket Club, of which I am a Vice-President. He is an honorary life member and regular visitor – a useful reminder that all the best sportsmen and women remember where they came from and that sport belongs to all of us.

I recently met Leon Smith – the brilliant captain of the first GB team to win the Davis Cup since 1936. It was a superb achievement, but I was equally pleased to learn that one of the first things he did after that win was to use the momentum created to start enthusing more youngsters to play the sport.

Along with Annabel Croft he is overseeing a scheme called “Tennis for Kids”, working with coaches to get children involved in the sport and to create an environment where they don’t just try tennis but stick with it. It is great to see elite coaches and athletes give back to their sport in this way.

Some governing bodies have done good work too – such as the RFU through its CBRE All Schools programme, which aims to increase the amount of rugby in schools and encourage new players to join local clubs. The RFU invested 32.5m last year in the grassroots game, an increase of 5 per cent from previous year.

And we are also extremely fortunate to have so many unpaid volunteers up and down the country – without whom sport would collapse. We are supporting those volunteers and the grassroots, where some of our best talent starts.

The Premier League, which will earn over £5 billion over three seasons, already makes a significant investment in the grassroots of the game. However, the fact that it goes from strength to strength should have a commensurate impact on the lower levels of the sport.

The Premier League has agreed with the Government that it will at least double its investment into community football over the coming three seasons. That means over £100 million for the next three years will go to grassroots facilities and programmes where it is needed the most.

The funding details are dependent on the outcome of the Ofcom investigation into the sale of the Premier League’s audio-visual rights in the UK. Government does not control the timing of this, but will maintain a keen interest in how it develops.

The British public has an immense appetite for sport – as participants and spectators. We must not, however, abuse that position.

There has been a spate of shocking allegations and revelations in recent months. What has happened at FIFA is reprehensible and appalling. Accusations of match-fixing in tennis and snooker and allegations of doping in athletics are deeply disquieting.

This is damaging the reputation of sport. All corruption must be rooted out and dealt with. It is vitally important that sports bodies at home and abroad uphold the highest standards of governance, transparency and accountability.

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister is hosting an international Anti-Corruption Summit, the first of its kind. He will be welcoming international governments, businesses and organisations leading the fight against all corruption, including sports bodies.

It is the right thing to do. Government invests millions in sport, and has a responsibility to the taxpayer and Lottery player to see that their money is well spent. We have a responsibility to tackle corruption wherever it is to be found, whether in sport or anywhere else.

We want to inspire other governments to take a similarly robust position. Across the world, governments are the single biggest investor in sport – whether in the grassroots, elite funding or major events.

Domestically, we have a good record, but more needs to be done, especially if we are to lead the world by example. UK Sport and Sport England are drafting a domestic code, which will be launched later in the year. It will include new rules on governance, financial transparency and diversity.

There are cases where certain minimum standards are not being met, in regard to independence, conflicts of interest and term limits. This is a betrayal of athletes and the public alike. In future, where these standards are not met, we will not invest public money.

I was disappointed to learn that the FA have again rejected the opportunity to reform their out-dated and unrepresentative governance model.

So I will be writing to the FA to make clear that if they don’t make sufficient progress on reform, they will not get a penny of taxpayers’ money in the future. We would look instead to route money for grassroots football to other organisations that will adhere to the code of good governance.

It is also vitally important that fans continue to feel connected to their clubs.

In January the Government’s Expert Working Group published a report on football supporter ownership and engagement. It has been well received by the football authorities and by supporters’ groups.

The report contained proposals on improving dialogue between fans and clubs and about making it more realistic for fans to bid for ownership of their club, when such opportunities arise.

From next season, club owners will be expected to talk with a representative group of supporters about matters of strategic importance – giving them more information and a chance to hold key people to account.

This year will be another momentous one for sport. We have three major events in Euro 2016, the Olympics and Paralympics.

We are looking forward to an exciting European Championship in France and wish the English, Welsh and Northern Irish teams good luck for a successful tournament.

Memories of the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 are still fresh in all our minds, and the Government remains committed to their legacy. We had an excellent settlement in the Autumn

Statement, whereby we are increasing central government funding for elite sport. We want to keep the medals count up at Rio this year and Tokyo in 2020!

Sport is something that we are great at. It is one of our biggest drivers of talent, it boosts our economy, it gives us international clout and national pride, and it is hugely enjoyable.

This government is making a record investment in sport, because sport in this country has the potential to be even bigger and better.

We want to see all corruption sniffed out and strangled, and as many people as possible from all backgrounds enjoy the multiple benefits of a sporting life.

We will therefore continue to implement all the goals in our sports strategy, and we will continue to work with all of you, to deliver all these benefits.

Thank you.

John Whittingdale – 2016 Speech to Oxford Media Convention


Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in Oxford on 2 March 2016.

Good morning. It is a pleasure to be back in Oxford to open this year’s Media Convention.

Having been following media policy for longer than I like to remember, I have been a regular attendee.

Looking back, I found that over the past ten years I have sat on panels discussing analogue switch over, internet regulation and ISP responsibility: at least two of which we are still discussing today.

And last year, I took part in a panel discussion entitled “What is the Point of the DCMS?”

In what turned out to be a wise career move, I argued that the DCMS played an important role in Government and certainly should not be abolished. Happily, not only did my fellow panellists agree but it turned out that so did the Prime Minister.

Since becoming Secretary of State, I have become even more convinced. The DCMS covers many policy areas but at the heart of its mission lies the promotion of our creative industries. A sector which represents over 5 per cent of our GVA and which has been growing at at least twice the rate of the rest of the economy.

In our television, film, music and games industries Britain leads the world. And not just leads but sells around the world. Just in the last 6 months I have helped President Xi of China explore the Tardis and shared a stage in Mexico with Shaun the Sheep.

But it is a sector which also faces extraordinary pace of change. The digital revolution is up ending business models and creating huge new challenges and opportunities. It is a fascinating time to be responsible for Government policy.

I want to talk about some of the challenges later. But first, I want to give an update on our progress on one of the immediate tasks facing the Government: the renewal of the Charter of the BBC.

It is a topic that a lot of people feel very strongly about and on which much has already been said – with even more contributions due by the end of today’s convention.

I am grateful for the submissions from the BBC itself, from other industry players, from my colleagues on the House of Commons and the House of Lords Select Committees, and from the 192,000 people who responded to our consultation paper.

Yesterday, we published three documents all of which will have a major influence on the new draft Charter.

The first document which we published yesterday was a summary of the consultation responses we received. And I would like to reiterate what I’ve said previously. I very much welcome the fact that so many took the trouble to tell us what they thought.

Every response we received matters. Every response we received has been read. And every response we received has informed the document we published yesterday.

As they themselves have boasted, an overwhelming majority of those responses to the consultation were triggered by the organisation Thirty Eight Degrees. I am grateful for their help in publicising it.

Despite their claims to the contrary, I have made clear that every response is valid. And having been to see the team responsible for reading them all, I can confirm that they were not just cut and pasted but were well thought through.

But when you receive an email inviting comment on claims that Murdoch and the Government plan to destroy the BBC and that Newsnight may become riddled with adverts, not only is that wildly misrepresenting the Government’s intentions, it will also naturally colour the type of responses we received.

Just as, if someone had used social media to promulgate the message that we planned to triple the licence fee, and remove accountability we would have seen a different influx of responses.

That said, the consultation does make for interesting reading.

It makes clear that the public do value the BBC, with 80% saying it serves audience well or very well. It makes clear that the public believe it produces high quality and distinctive content – three quarters said that,

And it makes clear that the public want the BBC to remain independent – an overwhelming majority shared that sentiment.

On content – at its best – the BBC produces brilliant, world class TV and radio.

On all those points, I would have said the same. But the responses also suggested that there are areas where the BBC falls short for some viewers. That it needs to do more to reach BAME and young audiences, and to represent the lives of the people of our nations and regions. This is a finding supported by the BBC Trust’s own research and the recent Committee reports from both Houses.

On distinctiveness, there is no doubt that at its best the BBC makes programmes which no-one else would do. Programmes like The Night Manager. Or another example which I saw just a few weeks ago when I watched the filming of the new Ben Elton comedy about Shakespeare: Upstart Crow.

But I also agree with the Director General’s aim “to create a BBC that is more distinctive than ever – and clearly distinguishable from the market”.

This is not just about showing more documentaries than ITV, or spinning a more varied playlist than Global.

It is about the BBC being distinctive in their own right – not just on a service level, but across its output.

And on independence – the government agrees entirely.

A free, impartial and editorially independent BBC is vital not only to our media market but also to news provision and plurality, and we are determined to find the right way to protect those values, whilst ensuring it is accountable and held to the highest of standards.

There is – of course – much more in the summary of responses. My team took many months to read every response we received. Indeed, we had to draft in extra staff from across Government as well as temping agencies to draw this all together. But the hours the public put into writing, and those staff put into reading will prove hugely helpful in informing the White Paper.

We’ve also commissioned further polling and focus group work to unpick some of the issues highlighted, and to ensure that some of the minority views of certain parts of society aren’t lost as we take this forward. And we have held a series of roundtables including two with “creatives” which Armando Iannucci helped organise at my invitation in response to his MacTaggart lecture last year.

The second document which we published yesterday was Sir David Clementi’s report into Governance and Regulation of the BBC.

Sir David has gone to enormous lengths over the last five months to talk to as many people as possible, and to make sure that his recommendations are fully evidence based. I am enormously grateful to him for all his hard work.

At first sight, BBC Governance appears to be one of the less controversial aspects of the Charter. It is also fair to say that, while it dominates the debate amongst a small sub-set of BBC watchers, it is an issue that excites the public a lot less. And that was reflected in the responses to Charter – many of which skipped the Governance section entirely.

That is perhaps understandable. Because Governance is an area that to the average viewer can seem dry and technical and – until they have an issue they want to complain about – something of no real relevance to them.

But Governance and Regulation do matter greatly. There have been notable failures in the past. And the future performance of the BBC will be hugely determined by its governance structure:

How the BBC is managed.

How the BBC delivers against its remit.

How the BBC is held to account for the public money it spends.

How the BBC relates to – and works with – its partners and rivals in the market.

All of these are fundamental questions to the Charter process. And they are questions central to Sir David’s review.

I know Sir David will be presenting his paper in detail later on this afternoon.

And I’m not going to formally reply to it today.

But what I will say of Sir David’s paper is this.

He has not only characterised the current arrangements very fairly – both in terms of its strengths and weaknesses…

But he has also set out a clear, sensible, vision for how the BBC can be reformed for the better.

And his ideas for the principles of simpler Governance structures and streamlined regulatory arrangements that have public interest and market sensitivity at their heart, are ones that it would be very difficult for this – or indeed any – Government to overlook.

The third and final document published yesterday was the report we commissioned from independent media consultants – O&O and Oxera – into the BBC’s market impact.

And the key finding of that report was that – perhaps unsurprisingly – the BBC currently has both negative and positive market impacts.

But the report shows that they could do more to enhance their net impact…

And it cautions against the idea that the current positive market impact is a justification for future expansion. One simply doesn’t cause the other.

In fact, the report suggests that the BBC could be a better partner by working more collaboratively with the sector.

I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to say that the BBC’s partnership record is fitful. Excellent at times. Falling short at others. And – as the BBC themselves have admitted to me – partnership is too often something they’re seen to do to people rather than with them. This is something that needs to be addressed.

The report also shows that in some areas the BBC has become less distinctive in recent years – particularly on BBC 1. It also flags up that Radio 1 and Radio 2 are less distinctive than the BBC claim and that the soft news element of the BBC’s online services is of limited public value.

The report goes on to suggest that a more distinctive BBC would provide benefits both for the organisation itself, and for the wider media sector…

Because not only would it deliver greater variety for licence fee payers, it could also have a positive net market impact and increase commercial revenue by over £100m per year by the end of the next Charter period.

Of course – again – the report says a lot more than that. It is over 200 pages long. It is based on some very thorough analysis. And it will be considered very thoroughly by myself and the Department…

But what the headline figures show, is that the Director General’s drive for greater distinctiveness can be good for the BBC, good for Licence Fee payers, and good for the wider sector, and that is something that the next Charter should encourage and embrace.

So those three documents – Sir David’s report, the summary of Consultation Responses and the Market Impact Study, will play a key role in informing our thinking.

We also agreed with the BBC in July that the Government would update the legislation setting the licence fee to close the so-called iPlayer loophole. When the Licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist. And while the definition of television in the legislation covers live streaming, it does not require viewers to have a licence if they watch BBC programmes through the iPlayer even if it is just a few minutes after transmission.

The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it. Giving a free ride to those who enjoy Sherlock or Bake Off an hour, a day or a week after they are broadcast was never intended and is wrong.

So, having discussed this with the BBC and the BBC Trust, I will be bringing forward, as soon as practicable, secondary legislation which will extend the current TV licensing regime not only to cover those watching the BBC live, but also those watching the BBC on catch-up through the iplayer.

It is not just the BBC that is affected by the digital revolution. It is affecting every media business and, as the pace of change accelerates, no-one can predict what our future media landscape will look like.

This time ten years ago, most TV sets were Cathode Ray tubes receiving analogue signals, catch-up was mainly done with a VHS tape recorder and Netflix was a DVD home delivery service.

Today, consumers are no longer passive recipients, organising their lives around the Radio Times, but are now able to watch what they want, when they want and on a range of different devices from an smart phone screen to one which is 65” in Ultra HD.

What is even more remarkable is that for the consumer, services like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, and Candy Crush are all free. Music, video, and electronic games can all be enjoyed for nothing – with the result that a generation of consumers is growing up who do not expect to pay.

Yet all of these products and services – and thousands more – are the result of the creativity, hard work and financial investment of vast numbers of people. They have a right – and a need – to be rewarded. Unless they are able to be paid or make a return, those industries may not survive.

In almost all, they are able to do so in large part because of advertising. Commercial TV, Radio, newspaper websites, streaming services, search engines, and many games and apps all rely on advertising. In some cases, they also receive subscription payments from a small minority who are willing to pay to avoid advertisements.

The newspaper, music, film and games industry are all having to adapt to a world in which consumers are no longer as willing to pay as their parents were. In almost every case, advertising revenue now plays an essential part in their new business models.

And so I completely understand the concern that a lot of people have expressed to me about the expansion of ad-blockers.

Ten years ago, the music and film industries faced a threat to their very existence from online copyright infringement by illegal file-sharing or pirate sites.

Today, ad-blocking potentially poses a similar threat. One industry estimate suggests that – within one week of going on sale – the top 3 mobile ad-blockers in the App Store were downloaded nearly 175,000 times. And in the 12 months to June last year, there was a 48 per cent growth in ad-blocker use in the USA and 82 per cent growth in the UK.

Mobile phone manufacturers are now integrating ad blocking features into their browsers. And ISPs are beginning to do the same as they see it as a way of saving money by freeing up capacity on their networks.

Meanwhile, some of the ad-blocking companies are drawing up their own rules of acceptable advertising or offering to white list providers in return for payment. Many see such practices as akin to a modern day protection racket.

This practice is depriving many websites and platforms of legitimate revenue. It is having an impact across the value chain, and it presents a challenge that has to be overcome. Because – quite simply – if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist.

And that’s as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.

However, it is not all bleak.

Industry research suggests that consumers do not dislike online advertising per se.

What they dislike is online advertising that interrupts what they are doing. They don’t like video or audio that plays automatically as soon as a web page has loaded. Or pop-ups that get in the way of their browsing experience.

And this research also indicates that most consumers would prefer an ad-funded, free internet over a subscription model – which suggests that many consumers do understand that content isn’t free.

But we need to educate consumers more on how most online content is funded. And we need the whole advertising sector to be smarter. If we can avoid the intrusive ads that consumers dislike, then I believe there should be a decrease in the use of ad-blockers.

I am not suggesting that we should ban ad-blockers but I do share the concern about their impact. And I plan to host a round table with representatives from all sides of the argument to discuss this in the coming weeks.

Once I have heard their views, I will consider what role there is for Government.

My natural political instinct is that self-regulation and co-operation is the key to resolving these challenges, and I know the digital sector prides itself on doing just that. But Government stands ready to help in any way we can – as long as this does not erode consumer choice.

This is an extraordinarily exciting time for your sector. It is exciting for those who love your products.

And most of all it is incredibly exciting to be Secretary of State.

I look forward immensely to continuing to work with you to ensure that this country remains at the forefront of all these developments.

John Whittingdale – 2015 Statement on Sepp Blatter and FIFA


Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons on 1 June 2015.

Last Friday, FIFA’s members had the opportunity to embrace the overwhelming call for change that is coming from football fans around the world. They failed to do so. FIFA’s support for its discredited president was incredibly disappointing, but it will not have surprised the footballing public who have become increasingly cynical as the allegations of misconduct and malfeasance have piled up. FIFA needs to change—and to change now. I can assure the House that the Government will do all in their power to help bring change about.

I have just spoken to Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, and assured him that we stand behind the English FA’s efforts to end the culture of kickbacks and corruption that risk ruining international football for a generation. I agreed with him that no options should be ruled out at this stage.

Let me also reiterate the Government’s support for the action of the American and Swiss authorities. Earlier today, I spoke with the Attorney General. We agreed that the British authorities will offer full co-operation with American and Swiss investigators, and that if any evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the UK emerges, we will fully the support the Serious Fraud Office in pursuing those involved.

FIFA’s voting system is designed to support the incumbent, and it returned a predictable result, but there is no doubt that what remained of Sepp Blatter’s credibility has been utterly destroyed. The mere fact that more than 70 national associations felt able to back a rival candidate shows that momentum against him is building. We must now increase that pressure still further. It is up to everyone who cares about football to use whatever influence they have to make this possible.

I am sure that fans the world over will be increasingly vocal in their condemnation of the Blatter regime, and FIFA’s sponsors need to think long and hard about whether they want to be associated with such a discredited and disgraced organisation. For the good of the game, we must work together to bring about change. For the good of the game, it is time for Sepp Blatter to go.

John Whittingdale – 2015 Speech on WSIS Review


Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, at the UN General Assembly on 12 December 2015.

Thank you Mr. President

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to represent the United Kingdom at the conclusion of the ten-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society.

WSIS is a crucial agenda for the United Kingdom. This review is a major step forward in our shared aim to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society.

It is an agenda built on the inseparable links between access to ICTs, the protection of human rights and social and economic development across the globe.

The UK has played a leading role in the evolution of ICTs – from the early development of telegraphy and the first submarine cables, to the work of the Marconi Company in radio-communications in my own area of Chelmsford. And that pioneering work continues, from the invention of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, right up to the development of 5G mobile.

The revolutions in technology we have seen over recent years have transformed business, public services and access to information, education and culture. They are transforming the lives of billions of people for the better.

We need to make sure that these benefits reach every corner of the world.

Investment by the private sector, and governments, has delivered enormous progress in the last 10 years. 3.2 billion people are now online.

But there is more to do to close the digital divide. Four billion people worldwide remain offline – most of them in developing countries, and a disproportionate number of them, women.

That is why the UK has emphasised throughout the review that we must make an explicit link between WSIS and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

In the UK we have kept our pledge on overseas aid by enshrining into the law the UN’s target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on development aid.

Many of the development programmes we fund are driven by information and communication technology.

But for development to be truly sustainable, investment alone is not enough. We must also create an enabling environment.

That is why we are pleased that the WSIS review emphasises the importance of competition, proportionate taxation and independent and non-discriminatory regulation.

But governments cannot achieve the Information Society alone. That is why the multi-stakeholder approach – which brings together, governments, the private sector, civil society, the technical community and academia – is so vital.

Our experience in the UK has demonstrated the critical importance of multi-stakeholder approaches. Whether it’s the rollout of superfast broadband to every UK citizen or keeping our children safe online, we have found that working together brings the best results.

And let me be clear. ICTs do bring new challenges. As we become more dependent on ICTs so we need new solutions to ensure networks are open and secure.

A year ago, the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, convened the first WePROTECT Summit in London. Industry, governments and other organisations came together, united by a determination to treat child sexual abuse as a global crime requiring a global response. A multi-stakeholder approach to a serious challenge that affects us all.

Our resolve to combat child sexual abuse is mirrored in our resolve to tackle the use of ICTs for other harmful activities – from harassment to crime to terrorism.

A vital part of digital literacy is learning how to stay safe online. In the UK we are helping parents make choices about what their children can access and giving them filtering tools to protect them.

We are looking at the best ways to require age verification for some types of harmful content and at ways to tackle illegal online gambling, to prevent piracy and to protect personal data.

And we are investing £1.9 billion in cyber security over the next 5 years.

But Governments cannot successfully tackle these issues working in isolation. If we are to achieve the WSIS vision, then all stakeholders need to play their part.

I would like to conclude by talking about freedom. As the Minister in Britain for culture and media and telecoms, I know that societies thrive when there is access to information, an independent media to hold the powerful to account, the freedom for people to express their opinions and freedom for cultural expression.

But in many parts of the world, serious threats remain to freedom of expression and plurality of information.

Online censorship, restrictions on social media, and efforts to restrict civil society, are all undermining human rights.

Journalists live in fear of attack, intimidation, politically motivated persecution and arbitrary libel suits. And because the Internet has made millions of people citizen-journalists, these new activists and bloggers are also under threat.

The UK calls on all countries to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

That is why we consider one of the major achievements of this review the affirmation that human rights apply online as they do offline.

Without that foundation, we will not be able to realise the potential of ICTs for global sustainable development.

In conclusion, the WSIS review has been a major step forward in our common goal to build an Information Society for all.

That goal should not only be measured by economic development and the spread of ICTs, but also by progress towards the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the opportunity for every individual to fulfill their potential.

Our work has just begun. Let’s now move on to get the next four billion people online.

Thank you.