Letter: The pros and cons of John Birt Productions Ltd

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'No private matter' (1 March), on the BBC director-general's tax arrangements was both overblown and misleading.

First, any citizen is entitled to organise his financial affairs to minimise his tax liabilities, provided such arrangements are legal and transparent. John Birt's were plainly both. Second, in practice, the tax and National Insurance advantages of owning a private company are minimal, and in most cases largely offset by associated audit and administrative costs. Finally, although it is worth pointing out only because your leading article gives an inaccurate impression of the director-general, it is a matter of record that his decision to leave LWT cost him a very substantial sum in foregone share options in the company.

Yours sincerely,



London Weekend Television

London, SE1

2 March