The BBC could spend much more money on Regional Television in the North West if it was more Efficient.

Dated 17th April 2018

Dear Readers,

I stumbled across this article written for The Daily Mail on 14th June 2015: It is entitled “BBC Spends less than half its Cash on Programmes”. It details expenditure for the Accounting Year ending April 2014- this after the BBC was made to cut 20% off expenditure in real terms by the Coalition Government led by David Cameron. Details in this report on BBC Expenditure for the Accounting Year 2013-14 include :

1) £107 million cost-overrun for upgrade and refurbishment to New Broadcasting House.

2) £230,000 spent on tea for BBC staff during the 2013-14 year.

3) 100 members of staff paid more than the Prime Minister.

4) Over £5 million spent on Management Consultants and PR Gurus during the 2013-14 year.

5) £369 million in pay-offs handed to departing staff over eight years up to April 2014.

The severance pay costs and the amount paid for BBC management are very high. Redundancy payments for an organisation of similar income and out-goings to the BBC (and over a similar period of time) would be a fraction of the amount that the BBC paid out.

And a small fraction of that £369 million, let’s say £70 million, would pay for a new BBC North West Region for just Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man complete with separate opt-out news-programming for the Isle of Man and northern Cumbria for a period of over twenty years!

Likewise, greatly cutting the budget for Management Consultants and PR would also save enough money for the BBC to greatly improve Regional Television News output for North West England and the Isle of Man. So when Mr. Aziz Rashid, then the Head of Regional and Local Programming for North West England, intimated that the BBC cannot afford opt-outs and extra resources to improve Regional News Programming for more northerly parts of North West England and the Isle of Man he was not being truthful. The BBC wastes a lot of money on back-office stuff that does not benefit viewers of BBC programming. It is time that this was dealt with.

Ian Pennell

Published by northwestisnorthwest

My name is Ian Pennell and I am a freelance Book-keeper: I live near Alston, in the North Pennines in north-east Cumbria. I have friends who live in northern North West England - near Lancaster (which is where I went to University and used to live until 17 years ago) and in other parts of Cumbria. I have two Website Campaigns that seek to promote more localised Regional TV coverage for large rural areas across the North of North West England and North East England. . A big problem is that the Regional Television Bulletins for the North West covers the southern third of the Region about 90% (plus a part of Derbyshire which is NOT the North West of England), covers the middle third of North West England poorly and covers the northern third of North West England not at all! When I was studying at Lancaster University, I used to watch BBC1 North West Tonight because it covered areas up around where I was brought up- in northern Cumbria as well as more immediately locally around Lancaster. Then I came home one day, turned on BBC1 North West Tonight wondering why they were silent on Cumbria and discovered why: Most of Cumbria had been chopped off the weather-map! . People living in the westernmost part of North West England (around St. Bees Head) have local BBC news on their televisions which is 90% about North East England! In rural and northern Northumberland too, Regional TV, as is received by viewers, tends too often to be Tyneside/ Wearside/ Teesside- focussed with little news locally. Communities in North Northumberland have strong links across the Border into south-east Scotland and towards Edinburgh but none of the Regional TV News- services serving Northumberland today ever goes across the Scottish Border for significant happenings of interest to North Northumbrians. I have also done walking in the area, including around the Cheviots in the past- and the Northumberland/ Scottish Borders/ East and Mid Lothian area is vast- but it is largely overlooked by mainstream Regional TV! . North Yorkshire, the largest county in England also falls in the gaps between coverage from BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) or ITV1 News Tyne Tees in the north of the county, and the Leeds-based BBC1 and ITV1 Regional TV- services in the south of the county: North Yorkshire is a huge, yet beautiful county, which I have visited and explored in the past, yet is poorly covered in Regional TV. . Based near Alston, near the Cumbria/ Northumberland boundary I am well-placed to discuss Regional TV in all these large rural areas, in which collectively some two million folk live, yet they are poorly covered by the Regional TV News- services set up to serve them. These huge areas are an hour to two hours' drive from where I live: North Lancashire and South/ West Cumbria are to the south-west, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and Lothian are to the north and north-east, and North Yorkshire is to the south-east of my home near Alston. I am well-placed to draw attention to deficiencies in Regional TV coverage for folk in all these areas. The North Pennines, where I live, is arguably another large area that touches on the other three where Regional TV coverage falls through the gaps completely (and that is despite the North Pennines running north to south down the middle of the BBC1 NE/ Cumbria Region). . In two websites, one for northern North West England and the Isle of Man (a country in it's own right that does not have it's own TV service!), and another Website focussing on Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the North Pennines I make the point that Regional TV that informs viewers of important things in their local area is a Public Service, funding for which should be given a higher priority (and if necessary via statute through the BBC's Charter), than funding for Soaps, Films or Sport- which are for leisure. I also give viewers the tools to fight effectively for better- and more geographic-appropriate Regional TV where they live- and to seek it through alternative (often little-known) local TV services, some of which may only be available on the Internet.

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