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S4C to launch legal challenge on BBC 'takeover'

The broadcaster argued the government kept it in the dark about plans to "effectively merge" it with

S4C, which reacted strongly to the government's decision to allow the BBC to fund and operate the ailing Welsh broadcaster, said it would mount a legal challenge over the plans.

The broadcaster argued the government tried to sidetrack it and kept it in the dark about plans to "effectively merge" it with the BBC.

S4C also accused the government of showing "contempt" for the broadcaster and "the Welsh people and indeed the language itself".

John Walter Jones, the chairman of S4C's governing body the S4C Authority, said: "The effect of the financial cuts agreed between Jeremy Hunt and the BBC will have a disastrous effect for viewers across Wales, and this at a time when the BBC has already cut spending on both English- and Welsh-language programming in Wales."

While warning that the S4C Authority would face extinction if the plan is implemented, Jones highlighted the Authority's unanimous desire to seek a judicial review of Jeremy Hunt's decision.

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne announced that S4C's £102m annual budget will be cut by 24.4 per cent in real terms over the next four years, and that the BBC will take over its funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2013.