LEADING ARTICLE : The mystery of Auntie's savings

Share
Related Topics
Spot the odd story out. Planets collide, mountain ranges topple into the sea, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are spotted in a Morecambe boarding house - and there is a row at the BBC. You've got it - only the BBC story is certain to get a headline. As our foremost cultural and newsgathering organisation, it matters what the Beeb does. And at the moment it is having rows.

Under long-term competitive threat, which it knew would push up costs while driving down revenues, the BBC has been cost-cutting for seven years. In fact, so successful was its efficiency drive that last year a fund was set up to distribute the fruits to favoured programme projects around the corporation.

Then, six weeks ago, horror! New commissioning in network television was frozen as the corporation struggled to meet its target for reducing borrowing. Tales were told of savage cuts and massive redundancies. Playwrights peppered the letters pages of newspapers with prognostications of doom.

Yesterday the panic was off. The commissioning moratorium was over. All that was needed was some "rephasing" of programme production and a tighter use of cash. But now the governors are getting cross. They are reported to be galled that from 1993 to 1995, staff numbers at the BBC grew by 0.17 per cent. "It may be fitter, but it certainly isn't slimmer," one anonymous governor opined.

But these are the same governors who have presided over the setting up of Radio 5 Live, have initiated an expensive move of production from London to the regions and have agreed to halt the growth in short-term contracts. For them now to characterise a staff increase of one-tenth of 1 per cent as runaway extravagance is slightly bizarre.

So is the fact that the BBC seems to find and lose large sums of money in the way other people mislay and recover their car keys or sunglasses. Which is not wonderfully reassuring for those of us who would like to see the corporation as a serious player in the cut-throat global media market of the 21st century.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA Manual Tester - Agile

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Bursar/Business Manager

£70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Experienced bursar or business...

Secondary School Teachers in Ipswich

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...

Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified and/or experienced te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Scottish polls, the clown who saved Iceland and all about oil

John Rentoul
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories