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Broadcasting: how ONS will classify public sector broadcasters

There are three public sector broadcasters in the United Kingdom: the BBC, Channel 4 and S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru, Channel Four Wales).

Within the National Accounts, only Channel 4 will remain classified as a public non-financial corporation.

Both the BBC and S4C will be reclassified to the central government sector.

The television licence fee has been reclassified as a tax, because the licence fee is a compulsory payment which is not paid solely for access to BBC services.

Previously, the licence fee had been classified as a service charge.

This reclassification means that the BBC will move from the public non-financial corporations sub-sector to the central government sector, effectively moving from one part of the public sector to another.

Channel 4 is funded from its own commercial revenues. As a result it is, and remains, classified as a public non-financial corporation.

S4C receives most of its income from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and has therefore been reclassified to the central government sector.

Previously, S4C had been classified as a non-financial public corporation.

These National Accounts classifications are consistent with international guidelines and are solely for the purpose of producing National Accounts and the statistical products based on them.

They have no implications for the independence of these broadcasters.

Revised data will be introduced into the National Accounts and the Public Sector Finances at the earliest possible opportunity.

The intention is to include these changes in the February Public Sector Finances and the 2006 Blue Book for National Accounts.
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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