BBC relocation will burden taxpayers

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The Independent Online

Taxpayers will fork out up to £3,000 to pay for new carpets and curtains for BBC staff moving from London to Salford, it emerged.

And staff in London with houses to sell will also benefit from a guaranteed house purchase scheme, under relocation terms for those prepared to head North.

The payments for curtains and carpets, still subject to Inland Revenue approval, will be available to any of the 1,630 BBC staff on contracts who are selling up to shift to Greater Manchester.

It is one payment among a package of incentives, paid for out of the licence fee, to entice staff to move North.

The BBC said it is offering a "comprehensive package of financial and practical support".

The TaxPayers' Alliance described the package as "a slap in the face to the ordinary taxpayer forced to subsidise such generosity when they are facing the consequences of hard economic times".

The BBC is moving five departments; Sport, Children's, Radio 5 Live, learning and parts of a department called, Future, Media and Technology to a new site, MediaCityUK, currently being built at Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.

All staff must make a decision whether to move or not by September 30, with most relocating between April and December 2011.

Details of the relocation payments were released after an application by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act, made law by the Labour government in 2000.

The package includes the BBC employing a specialist relocation company, Cartus, with the guaranteed house purchase scheme (GHPS) including payment of solicitors' fees, survey fees and stamp duty.