Nadine Dorries’ views on the UK’s beleaguered national broadcasting corporation have been polarising since she was promoted to the role of Culture Secretary in September 2021, but in an interview with the Sunday Times, she emphasised her wish to protect the BBC into the future.
“Our responsibility is to save the BBC from itself, because it is that polar bear on a shrinking ice cap,” she said. “It’s a global British brand, which must be protected.”
Dorries previously caused ripples with an announcement on Twitter in January that she had decided to freeze the license fee – the source of funding for the BBC – for two years and scrap it altogether in five.
While she stepped back from this in the days that followed, she nevertheless confirmed the license fee freeze, which will mean a loss to the BBC of around £1.5BN ($2BN) over the next five years.
In today’s interview, she appeared to defend this decision, explaining, “I’m afraid the BBC in its present format, in its present funding model, will not exist into the future. Whether I’m here or not, it will hit the buffers as more people refuse to pay the licence fee. You have to open your eyes and see what’s coming.”
The Culture Secretary also has her eye on big tech, seemingly inspired by the system implemented in Australia, whereby social media companies pay news providers to host their content. Dorries described her plans for the UK system as “Australia plus plus plus” and “Australia with bolts on”.