A former director general of the BBC has warned that the corporation faces a much tougher political environment now than five years ago and criticised the way the charter renewal negotiations have been handled so far.
Mark Thompson said that it was wrong to force the broadcaster to provide free licence fees for the over-75s at a cost of £700m a year by the next decade.
Giving his his first interview about the BBC since he left in 2012, after eight years at the helm, Thompson said the broadcaster was having to pay for government policy. “It’s welfare … It’s totally inappropriate to use BBC to support social transfer in this country.”
When George Osborne tried to impose the same cost on the BBC during negotiations in 2010, Thompson started writing his resignation letter, along with several BBC Trustees. This July the current director general, Tony Hall, agreed to shoulder the burden in return for relief from other costs.
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