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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The need for effective scrutiny

One of the reasons I think as to why there has not been too much fuss about the decision to cut £2 million from S4C's budget is the lack of information about what they actually spend their £100m plus grant on. This article in today's Western Mail will not help their cause.

They report that the TV channel has come under fire after a Welsh language countryside programme took out a £1,000-a-month lease on a Land Rover:

S4C presenter Dai Jones – known as Dai Jones Llanilar after the village near Aberystwyth where he farms Welsh Black cattle and sheep – will be using the Land Rover Discovery to visit locations for his programme, Cefn Gwlad.

He also fronts two other S4C programmes, Fferm Factor and Rasus. It has been estimated that his income from presenting these programmes may run to £185,000 a year.

We can of course all argue about the value of this sort of expenditure and whether it should be allowed or not. But the fact is that S4C has a bit of a reputation for showing some extravagance in its expenditure and the only way that they can properly counter that is if they are effectively scrutinised.

That does not happen at present due to the Department of Culture Media and Sport having other things to do, whilst no Parliamentary Committee has so far seen fit to summon them on a regular basis for a thorough grilling.

As I have said previously the case for devolving responsibility for the channel to the Welsh Government (along with the money of course) is growing stronger. At least then Assembly Committees would have the right to question these issues.
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