PLAID Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones will today say the time has come to devolve major parts of broadcasting to Wales.Coincidently, that £300m pops up again later:
In a keynote speech at the National Eisteddfod, the Deputy First Minister will say there are compelling economic, cultural and democratic reasons for transferring control over TV and radio to Wales in the next Assembly term.
In the wake of recent predictions that S4C’s budget will be slashed, Mr Jones will pledge to put the devolution of broadcasting at the heart of his party’s manifesto next May.
Mr Jones will also say that the dramatic fall in English-language output in Wales, the roll-out of digitisation and proposed cuts by the new UK Government are likely to subject television and radio in Wales to an even more challenging environment – threatening further an industry estimated to be worth around £300m a year.
"Currently around £300m is spent each year on the creative industries in Wales"How exactly do you value a "television and radio industry", what exactly would you include in that term, "creative industries"?
Difficult to answer, but not the main point I want to make here; a much more pertinent question is to ask what percentage of our income tax is spent on culture, media and sport each year? How much choice do we get over how that money is spent?
Something I touched on in the comments here on my recent post in Open Unionism is that it is not the job of government to dictate and compel us to pay for what they have designated should be our cultural/leisure interests. I'm not in the Orange Order, a member of the GAA, I will never attend an opera at Covent Garden nor watch a Welsh-language programme on SC4. If those are the kind of pursuits which float your boat, great, but why should I also be subsidising them with my hard(ish)- earned pounds? Likewise, I don't think it's really fair that you all, in your own small way, are subsidising something which I do enjoy doing, watching Northern Ireland home and away.
Several EU countries operate a scheme by which taxpayers can donate a percentage of their income tax to a favoured cultural, sporting or even religious institution and there's no reason why a similiar system couldn't work here Cancel the TV license fee, slash the Central Exchequer spending on culture, sport and media to, let's see, something approaching 0%? Each taxpayer will then have pockets overflowing with taxcredits to donate, in whatever proportion they wish, to any such organisations presently subsidised by us all.
Probably no London Olympics but also then no more complaints about "London" denying the regions their culture or telly, no more complaints about adminstrations in those regions making biased decisions when allocating their resources. Sounds fair?