The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society

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Devolution and Broadcasting

I am deeply grateful to the Cymmrodorion for this opportunity to address the Honourable Society for the second time in less than a decade, and this time for an opportunity to do so in Cardiff. I am equally delighted that the Institute of Welsh Affairs has been able to support the event. I also confess to a small frisson at being allowed to speak in this chamber – modest when compared with its successor, but uniquely historic.

It was in March 2001 that I first addressed the Cymmrodorion on the subject of communications in a devolved Wales. At that time the National Assembly was less than two years old, and its first Culture Minister had been in post for less than six months. I outlined the immediate benefits that had accrued to broadcasting as a result of devolution – substantial increases in BBC Wales funding for its own services, and a sharp reduction in the money paid by ITV in Wales to the Treasury – but I suggested and I quote –