Ministers will not step in to save Farming Today
The Government has no powers to stop the BBC moving Farming Today from its regular early-morning radio slot of 6.10am, ministers stressed yesterday.
The BBC is due to announce its decisions on changes to Radio 4 on tomorrow.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey, for culture and media ministers, told the Lords at question time: “The BBC is responsible for its own programming on a day-to-day basis.”
The Earl of Kinnoull, Tory member and a surveyor and land agent, had pressed him to “give some hope to the 1.5 million listeners to this valuable programme.”
The proposed change is opposed by the National Farmers Union and the BBCs own advisory committee on rural and agricultural affairs.
Tory Baroness Gardner of Parkes wondered if the timing of the announcement, the day before Parliament rises for its summer break, was to avoid parliamentary debate on the issue. Lord McIntosh replied: “Even if the BBC had being doing such a dastardly thing, I doubt that we would have very fruitful debate on the details of programming. Parliament isnt responsible for day-to-day decisions about programming.”
The exchanges came amid the row over reports that the BBC is also considering scrapping or changing the long-running Yesterday in Parliament programme.