Ed Miliband pledges to maintain BBC licence fee

"I think it’s incredibly important that we protect the BBC. It’s recognised around the world and is a benchmark for standards in Britain”

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If Ed Miliband were elected prime minister, he would back the renewal of the BBC’s licence fee settlement in 2016.

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“I am a supporter of the BBC and I think it should be renewed,” the Labour leader says in this week’s Radio Times. “I’m not going to get into the level, which will be a matter for negotiation and discussion. I think it’s incredibly important that we protect the BBC. It’s recognised around the world and is a benchmark for standards in Britain.” 

Asked whether the Corporation needs to spend less on management and more on programme-making, however, Miliband says: “There needs to be a balance. And the BBC needs to take seriously the issue of management salaries: all organisations should. But I think [BBCDirector-general] Tony Hall is taking it seriously. Obviously, people have their frustrations about the BBC, but that doesn’t take away from its importance.”

Like US president Barack Obama, the Labour leader also reveals he’s a fan of Homeland but not of political programmes – especially the news.

“I tend not to watch the news, actually. That will sound a little strange. Look, I tend not to spend much time watching myself on TV. Obviously, I do watch the news. But I tend not to shout at the screen.”

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Read the full interview with Ed Miliband in this week’s edition of Radio Times, available in the shops and from Apple newsstand from Tuesday 7th April.