A sustained campaign by The Daily Mail appears to have begun in support of London based BBC staff who are against the relocation by the corporation to Salford.
The Daily Mail this morning reports that the BBC is set to spend £1 billion on moving programmes and staff to its new site in MediaCityUK, while The Mail has also reported the ‘outrage’ at the decision to allow Guy Bradshaw, migration manager for the BBC relocation, to commute from his home in Kentucky, meaning he will spend less than 25 weeks-a-year in the UK, making him exempt from tax.
The Mail Online also run with a piece by journalist Melanie Phillips who has claimed that the move of weekly political programme Question Times to Glasgow is ‘lunacy’.
This morning, The Mail claims that the bill of over £1 billion will include £157 million being spent on hotel and taxi bills for presenters, executives and studio guests as it aims to meet remit of producing half of its programmes in the regions by 2016.
The piece also says that critics claim that the BBC is suffering from ‘regional correctness’ and is ‘wasting money’ on ensuring that the licence fee is spent on reflecting all of its viewers.
As well as the £877 million being spent to build and run the MediaCity site, ‘Familiarisation visits’ will apparently cost £100,000 on hotels, £30,000 on dinners, £32,000 on lunches, £30,000 on coach trips around Salford, over £50,000 on ‘local area experts’, £140,000 on ‘event management’ and £3,000 on tram fares.
The piece also claims that between £3 million and £5 million will be spent on sending production back to London to cover the Olympic Games next year.
A spokesperson explained that the figures for taxis and hotels were a maximum estimate rather than a guaranteed amount.
“The BBC is committed to ensuring value for money from the licence. We have reduced spend on hotel and taxis in the past year,” they continued.
Meanwhile, despite rumours that he may resign from his role as presenter of Question Time following the departure of its producer over the proposed move north, veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has been offered a new five-year-contract to remain in position.
Writing for The Mail Online, Phillips says the relocation of Question time was; “extraordinarily stupid and potentially disastrous. For the mainstay of the Question Time weekly agenda is British politics… To do their job properly, the programme-makers must have constant access to government ministers, MPs and the rest of the political world - which is based in Westminster.”
Salford is expected to house the production of BBC Breakfast, CBBC, CBeebies, Radio Five Live and BBC Sport.