Update on BBC World Service Cuts

September 9, 2010

William Hague was giving evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday and seems to have more or less ruled out cutting the BBC’s Burmese Service.  The Guardian reports

Hague said the spending review would “undoubtedly affect the World Service” but added that no decisions had yet been taken. The World Service’s Burma operation did not cost very much to run, he said, and the chances he would recommend its closure were “correspondingly small”.

“Here am I as someone who in opposition has appeared on platforms with Burmese human rights activists, launched books with Burmese human rights activists and been on the World Service talking about Burma and the importance of communicating into it. The chances that I’m then going to sit in my office and say, ‘let’s close the World Service into Burma’ are correspondingly small.”

Interestingly he also largely ruled out cuts to the UK’s diplomatic network of diplomatic posts…which raises the question of how he’s going to pay for FCO budget cuts.  One idea that is being mentioned is that the FCO raids the budget of the Department For International Development which is protected from cuts.

I haven’t seen a transcript of Hague’s session with the Committee but if you’ve got two hours there’s video here

UPDATE: Transcript is now available here.


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