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The BBC World Service has a global audience of some 180 million people and is widely considered to be an important instrument of British “soft power”. This note provides background to ongoing parliamentary debates on recent decisions to cut the World Service’s budget and, in the longer term, to fund it by the licence fee.

On 26 January 2011, Peter Horrocks, Director, BBC World Service, announced cuts to language services and radio broadcasts to meet the Spending Review settlement, including the closure of five language services.

As part of the UK government’s Spending Review in October 2010, it was agreed that funding for BBC World Service would transfer to the Licence Fee from 2014/15 onward.

Relevant parliamentary papers include the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s sixth report of session 2010-11, The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service, HC 849 13 April 2011.

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