- About Us
- Join Us
- Contact Us
George Entwistle was confirmed today as the next Director-General of the BBC, taking over from Mark Thompson in October. He will receive a salary of £450,000 per annum. With the Treasury Select Committee and some sections of the press talking about the need for a “change in culture” at Barclays – a publicly listed bank – doesn’t the BBC – a multi-billion pound public institution – require some attention and change?
The BBC is a public body, the largest broadcaster in the world (employing approximately 23,000 staff) and costs the UK licence fee payer roughly £3.5bn through the license fee each year (currently £145.50 per person); however, the renewed focus of politicians on reform of the banking sector has strangely missed this rather large institution that accounted, according to Ofcom, for roughly 70% of TV news coverage, 60% of radio listeners every week and 40% of all views and minutes by news providers on the internet in 2010. (1)
The BBC has form in wasting money. After all, how can any broadcasting organisation which serves a 65 million person island be the biggest in the world and cost so much?
As outlined by Tom Waters in “Free the Airwaves”, a publication for The Freedom Association, an example of this waste is “[the BBC’s] famous spending of huge sums on salaries for its top stars, last year (2010) handing out £22m on just 19 of them” (2).
This has not changed.
As Lord Patten put it on this afternoon’s Boulton & Co.: “A lot of people won’t find it [George Entwistle’s salary of £450,000 per year] too hard to get by with that”.
This afternoon at the Treasury Select Committee, Andrea Leadsom MP asked Bob Diamond whether he was operating in a parallel universe to the rest of us. I would ask the same question of the BBC and its Board, as I hope Lord Patten was stating the obvious.
But this isn’t the end of the waste at the BBC. In “Free the Airwaves” Waters cited research that showed the BBC spent £5.1 million over three years on a series of campaigns advertising balloons (3); used £700,000 on a few short programme links to replace its previous hot air balloon ones (4); and that the organisation dedicated 7.75% of the licence fee over a five year period on the collection and evasion of the fee (5).
Further, with the large emphasis on News Corp hacking in the recent past, there has been little or no appreciation that the British Broadcasting Corporation is subject to its own bias and has – by its own admission – had “a massive bias to the left” in the past (Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC) (6).
This includes a European Union bias, a global warming bias and a political bias which has been described as both a “mindset” and being “at the core of the BBC” by Peter Sissons (7).
Yet, despite this bias being contrary to the public interest and the BBC being a public institution, has there been any thought of a public inquiry into the Corporation? Have heads rolled (so to speak)? No. Instead, some of the political and media focus has been on what type of person is at a private bank and on its Board of Directors. It should now turn on the BBC.
1: Ofcom: The Communications Market (2010): http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/cmr/753567/CMR_2010_FINAL.pdf
2: Reporter, “BBC paid £22m to 19 stars…” The Daily Mail, July 12th 2011
3: Alison Boshoff, “Balloon goes up with BBC logo”, The Daily Telegraph, October 4th 1997
4: Tara Conlan, “Nothing to watch on TV and the BBC spends “£700,000 of your money on this new image of itself.” The Daily Mail, March 27th 2002
5: BBC Full Financial and Governance Statements
7: Peter Sissons, “Left wing bias? It’s written through the BBC’s very DNA, says Peter Sissons” The Daily Mail, January 22nd 2011.
- Freedom in the City on 22nd May with JP Floru on May 22, 2013 12:30 pm
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
Join the Mailing List