Letter: Taxis for `Today'

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your report on Today (20 November) and its so-called "financial crisis" claimed that overspending on taxis for guests had led to cuts in the coverage of foreign stories. Strange that only the day before another newspaper had claimed that the programme could not even afford the taxis.

On the day of your article, Mike Williams was reporting from Chechnya for Today. Readers will have heard in recent months reports from East Timor and James Naughtie live from Kosovo, and the programme was co-presented from Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the wall. Hardly a lack of foreign coverage.

Today's budget reflects its importance in the Radio 4 schedule and has been reduced by only 1 per cent compared with the previous year. Given the saving in accommodation and studio costs achieved from the move to White City, that hardly constitutes "severe budgetary constraints".

The report queries whether Gordon Brown has ever made it out to White City. Both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were here two weeks ago. They both managed without taxis.

STEPHEN MITCHELL

Head of News Programmes, BBC News, London W12

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