BBC 'value for money,' says executive

 

A BBC executive said the corporation was "delivering value for money"
on the day it published expenses claims showing senior staff claimed
thousands of pounds for taxi journeys and entertaining.

Director of business operations Lucy Adams said the 25% cut to the senior manager wage bill announced today showed that "keeping salary costs under control is hugely important to us".

The corporation reduced its wage bill for senior staff from £78.53 million to £57.49 million in two years from August 2009. It also reduced the number of senior managers from 640 to 484 in the same period.

Ms Adams said: "The reductions we have achieved in this area reflect our commitment to ensuring we are delivering value for money in difficult economic times. We will continue to keep a close eye on these costs, reducing them still further where we can."

Details of expenses claims, from April to June 2011, published today show the BBC's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, one of the corporation's biggest cab users, claimed £1,748.70 on cars in the three-month period.

Ms Thomson, who earns more than £300,000, claimed £100 for a taxi as "no trains were running from Carlisle" after the Radio 1 Big Weekend in the Cumbrian city.

Peter Salmon, who is in charge of the move of thousands of staff from London to the Media City site in Salford, spent £2,400 on trips between the capital and Manchester.

The move has been controversial, with some on-screen talent, including BBC Breakfast presenters Sian Williams and Chris Hollins, refusing to move north.

Mr Salmon came under fire when it emerged he would only be renting a flat near the site because he did not want to move his wife, former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire, and young family while his children were still in school.

He has said he will move permanently when it fits with his children's education.

The gifts and hospitality register, also published today, showed Director-General Mark Thompson accepted a trip to the races at Ascot with his wife from the Duke of Devonshire, as well as tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show.

His expenses claims included £163.13 on lunch for four people to "discuss European projects" and £132.50 on a minicab.

The BBC's creative director, Alan Yentob, claimed £602.53 on taxis from April to June 2011.

He also spent £3,378 on a return flight to New York from London and £159 on train tickets to and from the Glastonbury Festival.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Glastonbury is a major British cultural event and the BBC has extensive coverage across TV, radio and online. Alan Yentob attended the festival in a work capacity, as a part of his professional remit for BBC Art's output."

PA

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