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Channel 4 should be public funded, says Michael Grade

During a lecture, Grade asserts that license fee should fund all of the UK's public service broadcas

Michael Grade, the former BBC and ITV chairman, called for the need to turn Channel 4 into a public funded broadcaster, being funded through the BBC licence fee.

Delivering a lecture at the Magdalene College, Cambridge, Grade said the licence fee should fund all of the UK's public service broadcasters - The BBC, S4C and Channel 4.

He claimed that public funding would aid the broadcaster to reduce its dependence on advertising income for funding and continue as a commercial broadcaster.

Grade noted that Channel 4, which is facing a significant decline in audience figures, has been under increasing pressure to compromise its public service remit for generating advertising.

He suggested that the division of licence fee revenue could take place every three years under the supervision of a Public Service Trust at arms' length from Government, adding that his plan would "secure the future of Channel 4 [and] reinvent the real creative competition for the BBC".

Meanwhile, the Channel 4 chairman, Lord Burns, criticised the public bodies' bill, which gives ministers the power to abolish, merge, or reform quangos.

He expressed concern that channel 4 being a part of around 150 institutions, or "schedule 7" may be subject to ministers' wide-ranging powers in the future.