Stripping Cable of Sky ruling cost £300,000

The decision to transfer responsibility between government departments for deciding if Rupert Murdoch's bid for BSkyB should be referred to the Competition Commission cost the taxpayer £300,000.

David Cameron ordered responsibility for media competition be taken away from Business Secretary Vince Cable after the minister was recorded by an undercover reporter claiming he had "decalred war" on the media mogul's empire. The role was shifted to Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary.

The cost of the move was calculated to have cost £280,000 in alterations to IT systems and connections, while moving staff and materials added a further £20,000. The expense caused by the Business Secretary's gaffe was revealed after the BBC issued a Freedom of Information request. A government spokesman said the transfer was being "handled as cost-effectively as possible".

Mr Murdoch's News Corp already owns 39 per cent of BSkyB and said last year that it wants to buy the remainder of the broadcaster. The bid has sparked protests from other media organisations which believe the move would give Mr Murdoch's empire an excessive share of the UK market.

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