BBC economy drive is taking the biscuit

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The Independent Online

First Greg Dyke, the BBC's director general, declared war on the croissant. Now he wants to ban the biscuit.

A new round of money- saving measures at the Corporation is likely to eat into the £210,000 annual biscuit bill run up by senior and middle management, according to an internal BBC memo leaked yesterday. Although the BBC refused to discuss the memo, the bill is understood to be part of an annual £3.3m spent on internal catering and hospitality, with at least £350,000 going on tea and coffee for staff out of meetings. Mr Dyke hopes to cut that by £1.5m.

"The BBC would not normally expect to provide hospitality services to its staff," the memo said, "except when the host is entertaining a person/organisation from outside the BBC." It also proposes banning kettles in favour of vending machines. This would have the extra benefits of "eliminating the potential safety and electrical-loading issues and reducing cleaning costs".

Mr Dyke wants 85 per cent of the BBC's income to be spent on programming within three years. He has pledged to find £1.1bn in savings and extra commercial income in the next five years and has already raised the proportion of the budget spent on programming from 76 to 81 per cent.

The latest move reflects Mr Dyke's determination to attack the "three Cs" – "consultants, cars and croissants". His campaign has so far freed up an estimated £5m to be ploughed into programming. The £80,000 annual alcohol bill is also under threat, although "rewarding success" would be permissible.