Ben Wallace is grilled on Nadine Dorries' cabinet appointment
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The new Culture Secretary accused the broadcaster of failing to promote working-class talent. Speaking in Manchester she said the corporation’s chief executive needed to take action if he was to prove the licence fee was value for money.
“I had an interesting meeting with Tim Davie, the perspective from the BBC is they will get a settlement fee and they will change.
“My perspective is: tell us how you’re going to change and then we’ll give you a settlement,” she said.
“We are having a discussion about how the BBC can become more representative of the people who pay the licence people.
“More accessible to people of all backgrounds.”
The corporation’s chief executive said in his first speech to BBC staff after taking on the role last September that more needed to be done to represent the whole of the UK.
He said: “If we are going to get closer to all audiences, then we must create an organisation that is much more representative of the UK as a whole.
“We can claim, proudly, that we are leading the industry in many areas of diversity and inclusion, but it is simply not enough.
“The gap between rhetoric and action remains too big.
“I regret that we have not gone further to create a more diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels they are treated fairly and given equal opportunities.”
Ms Dorries said today that while the BBC has conceded it has problems it was now time for the organisation to implement change.
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“They have a group think, and it excludes working-class backgrounds, those from the north west, north east, Yorkshire,” she said.
“And so, they talk a lot about diversity but they don’t talk about kids from working-class backgrounds and that’s got to change.
“I want to see from organisations like the BBC what they’re going to do to change.”
Accusing the BBC of being discriminatory to those with a strong local accent, the Mid Bedfordshire MP urged the broadcaster to do more to reach out to communities.
She said: “It’s about having a more fair approach and a less elitist approach and less snobbish approach as to who works for you.
“And outreaching. Reaching out to those communities to find that talent.
“Our streets and our schools in those areas are bursting with talent, just talent that’s never realised.”
The BBC has been contacted for comment.
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