To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what Ofcom's budget was in each year since its inception; what proportion of that budget was allocated by Her Majesty's Treasury; and whether the Government plans to change Ofcom's funding model when it is responsible for the regulation of online harms.
24 February 2020
Please see the table below which sets out Ofcom’s budget for each year during the current spending review period, including what proportion of that budget was allocated by HM Treasury. Information in relation to Ofcom’s budget for previous years since its inception can be found in Ofcom's published accounts, copies of which are lodged in the House of Commons Library and published on Ofcom's website.
The above table provides funding for both Ofcom’s core responsibilities (including managing the UK spectrum) and 700 MHz clearance programme.
*The additional Grant-in-Aid was to cover the costs of managing the UK spectrum, given the significant infrastructure work taking place across the UK in 2017/18.
** Figure taken from the published Supply Estimates 2019-20.
In relation to Ofcom’s responsibility for the regulation of online harms, the Government is carrying out extensive analysis on potential funding options taking Ofcom’s existing funding model into consideration. As outlined in the Government’s ‘The Online Harms White Paper - Initial consultation response’, published on 12 February 2020, ‘The White Paper makes clear that in order to recoup both the implementation costs and running costs of the regulator, the government is considering fees, charges or a levy on companies whose services are in scope. This could fund the full range of the regulator’s activity. The government intends the new regulator to become cost neutral to the public sector.’ Full details on the funding mechanism for the Online Harms regulatory regime will be set out in due course.