UK Cabinet ‘backs BBC Singers’

UK Cabinet ‘backs BBC Singers’


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2023

A report by the Daily Telegraph’s political staff says the abolition of the BBC Singers has been raised at Cabinet level by the minister responsible for the Cabinet Office (pictured right).

Oliver Dowden, a former culture secretary, backed the campaign at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, according to sources. The Cabinet Office minister is said to have argued that the BBC should rethink its decision given how special the choir is to the public.
Other senior ministers around the table also expressed their support for the campaign to save the Singers, The Telegraph understands.

This is getting seriously uncomfortable for the BBC big brass. Expect a partial climbdown next week, before a new head of classical music takes up his position at BH, understands.



  • Emil says:

    This is so dumb. The UK cabinet is the one slashing the BBC budget. If they don’t want the BBC to make cuts, they can give it stable funding.
    Otherwise it’s just lame political posturing, blaming others for decisions the Cabinet caused.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      The British cabinet isn’t the first group of politicians wanting to have it both ways…

    • James Minch says:

      ‘The UK cabinet is the one slashing the BBC budget. If they don’t want the BBC to make cuts, they can give it stable funding.’

      Rubbish. While it disgusts me that a supposedly conservative government has allowed so much cultural damage within Britain, unfortunately, the BBC makes its own choices. There’s been little broadcast for the refined thinker in recent years.

      How much more stable could the funding get? In the UK, anyone watching or recording live television (and not just from the BBC) is required by law to pay for a licence. Once upon a time, most people were happy to pay this but as the BBC and other terrestrial channels have become increasingly left-wing (in a country with a Conservative government with a large majority) and as the quality of the programmes has declined, it’s not surprising that support for this tax has diminished.

      The BBC remains a wealthy organization but biting the hand that feeds it has been very stupid.

      • Emil says:

        Rubbish? What part? It’s objectively true that the Government has slashed the BBC budget, forced it to pay for free licences for over-65s out of its own budget, refused to increase licence fees to account for inflation, and is on the record announcing it will cut the TV licence fee altogether at the next possible occasion.

        So what part is “rubbish”?

      • Anthony Sayer says:

        @James M: Absolutely right.

    • Andy R says:

      The BBC’s budget is plenty big enough. BBC One costs over £1Bn a year but does nothing that the commercial sector can’t do (usually better). It’s how the BBC chooses to spend its extremely large budget that’s the issue.

      Classical music on TV doesn’t need to be expensive. Add far too many cameras, beautifully timed vision mixing throughout each piece, lavish presentation, luscious lighting and pointless surround sound and it becomes so expensive that they can’t afford to do it.

  • Thomas says:

    I’d love to see this make a difference but government has no direct influence on the BBC financial model and it will probably be the familiar head in sand insularity that will persist there, which happens to be the same reason they now have a funding crisis in the first place.

    The organisation is festooned with progressives in upper and middle management busy chasing egalitarianism whilst the wheels fall off its finances.

    It is plain see what the pursuit of those ideologies actually means now. The BBC expresses its concern for ‘ordinary’ people with a kind of arrogant pity and condescension which assumes these poor folk cannot cope with art, culture or anything requiring depth. That is why it is in a self-perpetuating spiral of decline. The funding continues to fall and they will always cut the wrong thing. Good luck BBC – your rot is deep.

    • Anon says:

      “government has no direct influence on the BBC financial model”

      What rot. On 17 Jan 2022 Nadine Dorries, then Secretary of State for the DCMS, stood up in the Commons and specified exactly how much the BBC could raise and therefore spend.

      • Baynes says:

        You think Nadine Dorries responsible for the sorry state the BBC is in? She has a job to reflect the views of the public.
        Last year nearly 2 million people told the BBC they no longer wanted a licence, thank you. It’s convenient to blame someone else when the money dries up but the BBC are quite capable of lousing things up for themselves as is being amply demonstrated.

  • Zooperdooper says:

    They should ringfence the spending on classical music ensembles and the proms by creating a “British Classical Music Corporation”, putting them all under it, and stripping the funding from the BBC of the same amount the ensembles were previously getting. The BBC can lose a “star” presenter or two if they are short of cash.

    • Emil says:

      And you think that there would not be pressure to cut funding from classical music next time there’s a budget crunch?

  • Doc Martin says:

    I watched the flagellation of Boris during the Partygate hearing, which was in fact quite mild, he did seem to dodge the bullet, the incessant chancer that he is. One would never buy a second hand car from him, let alone buy any of his dubious responses. I hope we never see him or his ilk ever again.

  • Doc Martin says:

    Would any of them know their Bach from their Buxtehude at all I wonder? I would very much doubt it.