BBC Expenses

Mark Thompson defends BBC’s expenses – Telegraph

Thompson is attempting to exclude the salaries and expenses of what he calls talent from public scrutiny. Who is he kidding? The BBC is owned by the taxpayer and every taxpayer has a right to see what money is spent and where it is spent. Where else could a board of directors decide that it would publish some of its accounts but not others.

Here in the South East we have at present a choice between two regional news programmes, one from the BBC and one from ITV. The ITV version is often of more relevance and the news hits the screen quicker than it appears on the BBC’s local news programme. Yet ITV’s local news is under threat because of the reduction of advertising revenue caused by the latest economic downturn. Why should other stations be affected but the BBC, owned by the taxpayer, continue to escape the worst effects of the ‘credit crunch’? The licence fee is levied towards public service broadcasting: what public service is there in paying huge salaries to broadcasters and entertainers to keep them from transferring their talent to commercial stations? If the commercial stations are to survive economic downturns, to ensure there is competition in the field, then some of the licence fee should be held in abeyance during fat years to ensure commercial television’s survival during lean years. This has been considered common sense since the days of the Ancient Egyptians.

If the BBC, and Thompson in particular, is attempting to hide profligate spending then Thompson should be thrown out by his ear and the BBC should lose the income from the licence fee. For us to know what is happening, the government must ensure that the BBC’s accounts are fully transparent. If the government does not intend to do that then the electorate should expel the present government at the next election and vote in a party that does.

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