Rishi Sunak could be about to water down plans of a licence fee increase, deepening financial concerns at the BBC.
Following a two-year freeze on the licence fee, an inflation-linked increase of nearly £15 was expected this year.
That would take the annual cost to £173.30 and would be the biggest single rise in the licence fee in nearly 40 years.
But reports have now surfaced suggesting that the PM will block the proposed 9% rise, warning that the BBC has to be realistic about what consumers can afford.
It could lead to even more cuts at the corporation, which has already warned that the two-year freeze has opened up a £400m shortfall in its finances.
A watered-down 6.7% rise in the licence fee would see that black hole soar to around £516m, according to Enders Analysis.
Plans were announced in March to broadcast 1,000 fewer hours of new TV shows this year, increasing reliance on repeats in a bid to save cash.
Plans have also been set out to move BBC Four and CBBC online, nearly a decade after moving BBC Three online.
Local radio has also reportedly been cut, while the broadcaster announced only last week that Newsnight would be shortened to half an hour, reducing more than half its staff.
At the same time, the corporation has increased its staff wages due to cost of living pressures.
Today’s business includes:
- Topical Questions
- Ministerial Statement: Post School Education and Skills Reform
- Scottish Government Debate: Championing Disability Equality and Human Rights
- Decision Time
- Members’ Business: S6M-11367 Future Island and Rural Transport Infrastructure
The following Committees are meeting this morning:
- Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee
- Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
- Finance and Public Administration Committee
- Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee
- Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee
Today’s business includes:
- Westminster Hall debate: Powers to search digital devices at the UK border
- Oral Questions (Lords): Governance for artificial intelligence used by the Department for Work and Pensions
- Oral Questions (Lords): Question to the Foreign Secretary: additional humanitarian and economic support to Ukraine
- Oral Questions (Lords): Question to the Foreign Secretary: discussions with the European Union about the future development of the UK-EU relationship
- Legislation (Lords): Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill – second reading
- Media Bill – Debate to consider the Bill
- Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee – Debate on the draft Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023
- Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee – Debate on the draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2023
- Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee – Oral evidence session on Transforming the UK’s Evidence Base
- Treasury Committee – Private meeting
- Science and Technology Committee (Lords) – Private meeting
- Defence Committee – Private meeting
- Industry and Regulators Committee – Private meeting
- Justice and Home Affairs Committee – Private meeting
- Finance Committee (Commons) – Private meeting
- Communications and Digital Committee – Private meeting
- Foreign Affairs Committee – Oral evidence session on the UK’s engagement with the Middle East and North Africa
- Economic Affairs Committee – Private meeting
- European Affairs Committee – Private meeting on Implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for UK-EU relations
- International Agreements Committee – Oral evidence session on UK Accession to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Today’s business includes:
- Garioch Area Committee
- Buchan Area Committee
- Special Meeting – Buchan Area Committee
Aberdeen City Council
Today’s business includes:
- NEW: Consultation: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) Network Code: updated Heads of Terms. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero are seeking views on the CCS Network Code, part of the new regulatory regime describing arrangements between CO2 network users and transport and storage companies. The CCS Network Code will set out the various commercial, operational and technical arrangements that will govern the use of these networks. It will provide the framework for seeking a connection, commissioning, and operating, plus other arrangements including on governance, disputes, data management and liabilities. For more information, or to respond to this consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 16th February 2024.
- Consultation: Proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill. Like many other countries, Scotland has a legal target to reach ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions. The way we heat our homes, workplaces and other buildings is the third-largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. There is no way to meet our legal obligation to reach ‘net zero’ without changing the heating systems in the vast majority of our buildings. The purpose of this consultation is raise awareness of the Scottish Government’s proposal to make new laws around the heating systems that can be used in homes and places of work (which includes: reconfirming that the use of polluting heating systems will be prohibited after 2045; require those purchasing a home or business premises to end their use of polluting heating systems within a fixed period following completion of the sale; introducing a new law that will require homeowners to make sure that their homes meet a reasonable minimum energy efficiency standard by 2033; and require private landlords to meet this minimum energy efficiency standard by 2028) and to invite views of a variety of stakeholders on those proposals. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 8th March 204.
- Consultation: Introducing a Contracts for Difference (CfD) Sustainable Industry Reward. The government is proposing to introduce a Contract for Difference Sustainable Industry Reward (CfD SIR) from CfD Allocation Round 7 onwards. The CfD Sustainable Industry Reward aims to help accelerate the deployment of low carbon electricity generation, specifically offshore / floating offshore wind, by addressing some of the recent challenges identified by the industry. The Reward could provide greater revenue support to projects that take meaningful action to increase the economic, environmental and social sustainability of offshore and floating offshore wind deployment. It could also work with other government policies aimed at increasing the rate of deployment of offshore and floating offshore wind. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 11th January 2024.
- Consultation: Hiring agency staff to cover industrial action. The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on whether government should repeal regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (“the Conduct Regulations”) which prevents employment businesses supplying agency workers to cover the duties normally performed by a worker who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 16th January 2024.
- Consultation: Transmission license exemption for array systems connecting to offshore substations. This consultation seeks views on a proposed exemption from the requirement to hold a transmission licence for array systems connecting an offshore windfarm to an offshore substation. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 2nd January 2024.
- DEADLINE APPROACHING: Consultation: The Seafarers’ Wages Act 2023 part 1 – draft regulations and guidance. The Seafarers’ Wages Act is designed to protect those working on ships operating a regular international service to/from the UK from being paid less than an equivalent to the National Minimum Wage while in UK territorial waters. The act became law on 23 March 2023 and the Department of Transport now needs to introduce secondary legislation to bring the provisions in the act fully into force. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 11th December.
- Consultation: Education Reform – A Consultation on the provisions of the Education Bill. In March 2022 the Scottish Government announced that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) would be replaced with a new qualifications body. It also announced its intention to establish a new independent inspectorate whilst also needing to understand how best to align education inspection with the wider inspection system. This consultation seeks views on a range of issues related to these proposals and the role inspection plays in providing assistance and support to educational professionals in Scotland. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 18th December.
- Consultation: Consultation on analogue community radio licensing. This consultation seeks views on the future approach to the licensing of analogue community radio stations, and the current restrictions on the capacity of stations to raise money through advertising and sponsorship. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 31st January 2024.
- Consultation: Trade with Turkey. The Department for Business and Trade is seeking input on which aspects of our current trading arrangements with Turkey they should look to improve or amend. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 5th January 2024.
- Consultation:Statutory Levy on Gambling Operators. Following the review of the Gambling Act 2005, the gambling white paper published in April 2023 set out the government’s plans for modernising the regulation of the gambling sector. One of the key proposals in the white paper was the introduction of a statutory levy on gambling operators which represents a generational shift in the funding system for research, prevention and treatment. The government is consulting on proposals on the key aspects of the levy’s design, including its structure, distribution and governance. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 14th December.
- Consultation: Democracy Matters. Somebody, somewhere is making decisions on your behalf. Democracy Matters conversations have already started to explore whether far more of these decisions could be made by communities themselves. This is a key and connected part of the wider Local Governance Review which is looking across all of Scotland’s vital public services to consider how power and resources should be shared between national and local government. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 28th February 2024.
- Consultation: Building standards enforcement and sanctions. In Scotland, a Ministerial Working Group was set up following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, to review building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. The Group commissioned two reviews of building standards; one to cover compliance and enforcement and the other fire safety. The Review Panel on Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement identified the need for improving aspects of the building standards system (covering procedural compliance, built compliance and enforcement of both procedural matters and non-compliant work). As part of this review, the Scottish Government is now consulting with a view to strengthening several existing provisions. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 15th January 2024.
- DEADLINE APPROACHING: Consultation: New build developments: delivering gigabit-capable connections. Digital connectivity is changing the way we work, do business and deliver public services. The Scottish Government want to ensure that new build homes are built with future proofed connectivity. To support this ambition the proposals outlined in this consultation will amend building standards with a consistent approach requiring developers to ensure that: all new build homes are installed with the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections; a gigabit-capable connection is installed in a new build home subject to a £2,000 cost cap per dwelling; or where a gigabit-capable connection is not being installed, the next fastest broadband connection is installed without exceeding the £2,000 cost cap. This consultation seeks views on this approach. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 12th December.
- DEADLINE APPROACHING: Consultation: Healthcare Improvement Scotland: independent healthcare fees solution. Independent hospitals and clinics have been regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). Following on from a previous consultation about independent health care, this discourse aims to amend the current ruling for 2 main reasons. Firstly, to regulate independent pharmacy-provided services which are not under an NHS contract. Secondly, to regulate independent medical agencies which includes the provision of services by a medical practitioner. This is required to ensure that fees for independent healthcare services are fairly implemented. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, click here. The closing date for responses is 11th December 2023
- LAST CHANCE TO RESPOND: Consultation: Strategic Environmental Assessment of Agricultural Tenancies, Small Landholdings and Land Use Tenancy Proposals: The Scottish Government’s ‘Vision for Agriculture’ statement outlines the Government’s long-term goal to develop how we support Scottish farming and food production. The end goal being to become global leaders in sustainability and regenerative agriculture. This consultation tests the previous proposals from the Vision of Agriculture statement, and discusses how to diminish the environmental impact of such proposals while reducing and avoiding adverse environmental effects. These assessments are important to ensure the suitability of a policy. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 7th December.
- Support: Develop your workforce with Skills for Growth. Skills for Growth is a diagnostic service that helps you identify skills gaps in your business and find ways to fill them. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will work with you to understand the skills your business needs, help you create a detailed people skills action plan and direct you to the right support. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Support: Techscaler. Techscaler is a Scottish Government programme that helps people to start and scale tech businesses. Techscaler membership provides tailored support for founders and leaders of tech start-ups. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Support: DigitalBoost Health Check. Take a Digital Health Check to find out how your business could improve its digital performance. Just answer 12 questions about your current approach to discover where you could do more with technology and how to boost your online presence. For more information, or to do your own check, please click here.
- Support/Training: The Princes Trust Explore Enterprise Course. The Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise Course consists of up to seven online sessions providing information and support on the basics of self-employment, HMRC and finance, pricing and sales, marketing, networking, cashflows, and business plans. These sessions are open to individuals aged between 18-30, who are resident in Scotland and been trading for less than 2 years. For more information, or to sign up, please click here.
- Support/Funding: Guidance on how to apply for Innovate UK funding opportunities. Innovate UK provides grant funding, loans and procurements for UK-based businesses to support research, development and innovation. This guidance explains what types of funding opportunities are available and how to apply through their Innovation Funding Service. For more information, or to access the guidance, please click here. Details on the various live funding options are available here.
- Support/Funding: UK Tradeshow Programme. The UK Tradeshow Programme offers government support to help UK businesses attend or exhibit at overseas trade shows more effectively. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Low Emission Zone Support Fund for Businesses. Eligible Scottish micro businesses and sole traders can apply for a £2,000 grant when they dispose of a vehicle that is not compliant with the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. For more information or to apply, please click here. The closing date for applications is 31st March 2024.
- Funding: Scottish Co-Investment Fund. The Scottish Co-investment Fund (SCF) is designed to address a finance gap (up to £1.5million) alongside Scottish Enterprise's accredited co-investment partners. This fund is designed for Scottish start-up, early-stage or growing companies seeking investment to develop products and/or markets. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Innovation Funding Service. Innovate UK supports UK-based businesses to invest in research, development and innovation through grant funding, loans or procurements. A variety of innovation competitions are currently open, with the full list and details of eligibility available here.
- Funding: Foresight Scottish Growth Fund. The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500 million for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. Backed by the Scottish Government, it aims to help businesses grow. This equity funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including working capital, capital expenditure and growth funding. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: SME Loan Scheme. This loan is for small to medium-sized businesses in Scotland and can be used for the installation of energy-efficient measures such as lighting and heating upgrades, double glazing, insulation and more. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: UMi Debt Finance Scotland. This funding is managed by UMi Debt Finance Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and provides loans of £25,000 to £250,000 to eligible small and medium enterprises to help them grow. Loans can be used for a variety of purposes including working capital, capital expenditure and growth funding. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: District Heating Loan Fund. The District Heating Loan Fund is managed by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides capital loan funding of more than £1 million to organisations in Scotland that use renewables technologies to build out heat networks. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Heat Network Fund. This Scottish Government fund encourages commercial interest and investment that will help make the most of Scotland's vast potential in the low carbon sector and contribute to the positive progress already made in reducing Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible projects must be large-scale and based in Scotland. As well as helping reduce emissions, successful projects should also have positive social and economic benefits for Scotland. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Workforce Innovation Voucher. The Workforce Innovation Voucher scheme can be used to support innovation to develop a company’s workforce in partnership with a college or university – for example, a new or enhanced workplace business processes, workplace practice or innovative business expertise. Interface provides support with finding a suitable academic partner who has the right specialist expertise to progress your Research and Development project. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: National Lottery Open Fund of Organisations – Creative Scotland. The National Lottery Open Fund for Organisations is a funding programme for artistic, creative and cultural organisations based in Scotland. Organisations can apply for between £1,000 and £100,000 to support creative activity that lasts up to 18 months. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Green Heat Innovation Support Programme. The Green Heat Innovation Support Programme provides grant funding, competitive procurement and other forms of support to help Scottish-based companies or companies looking to invest in Scotland develop innovative products, services or business models that address the challenges of green heating. For more information, or to apply, please click here.