The BBC spends less on Regional Television in North West England than elsewhere.

Dated 10th February 2018,

Dear Readers

If you live in the North West of England, particularly if you live anywhere north of Preston and wonder why the regional news on BBC’s North West Tonight has little of relevance to your area; it is because the BBC spends less per head of population and per square kilometre on Regional Television in the North West than elsewhere in the country.

The total spending by the BBC on the twelve English BBC Regions, specifically for local news production was £29.8 million.  The output will have been shared more or less equally between the twelve English regional studios to pay for upkeep of the studios, the journalists and reporters. The BBC’s local radio stations also source news which is often then picked up by the regional outlets; total spending by the BBC on the BBC’s forty-two local radio stations in England, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man was £112.9 million in 2016/17.

Now the BBC North West Region is home to seven million people and BBC North West Tonight sources some news from five BBC Local Radio Stations. There is just one BBC Region serving these seven million people.  These seven million souls have a share in a direct BBC Regional Television investment of £29.8 million divided by the twelve English BBC Regions, which comes to £2.483 million or just 35.5 pence per person. The BBC Local Radio investment for the BBC North West Region is 5/42 multiplied by the total BBC Local Radio investment for England, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man of £119.8 million. This comes to £ 14.167 million, or £2.02 pence per person. If we add up the total this £2.38 per person.

Now let’s look at the national English picture: There were 55.6 million people living in England, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in 2016. The total spend by the BBC on Regional Programming was £29.8 million in the 2016/17 Tax Year so if we divide this figure by the total population we get a spend of 53.6 pence per person, which is 18.1 pence more than the average for the BBC North West Region! Looking at the English (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands ) national average spend for BBC Local Radio the per person spend is £119.8 million divided by 55.6 million people, which comes to a spend of £2 and 15 and a half pence. Here the BBC North West Region is again short-changed by 13.5 pence per person. When we add the short-changing of North West folk by the BBC up it amounts to 31.6 pence per person. This is almost as much as the BBC invests directly into regional news programming for each person in the BBC North West Region.

For folk living in northern Cumbria, who get their Regional output from the North East the figures stack up better. The BBC Region has a population of 3.36 million so the spend per person on Regional Television is £29.8 million divided by 12 and divided by the population of the BBC North East and Cumbria Region, which comes to 73.9 pence per person. However, this area is served by just three BBC Local Radio Stations so this spend per person is 3/42 times £119.8 million divided by the population of 3.36 million. This comes to £2 and 54.7 pence per person. This is considerably better than the national average and each North Cumbrian viewer have £3 and 28.6 pence spent on them. This too, shows because North Cumbrian viewers of the flagship Regional Television Programme Look North do hear one or two news reports about the county on most nights. However, because the BBC North East/Cumbria Region is so large, with a transmission area covering 16,000 square kilometres (over forty percent bigger than BBC North West’s area of 11,000 square kilometres) North Cumbrian viewers will find nothing else on their regional programming that is local.

Meanwhile, the BBC spends £ millions on providing the BBC World Service in countries such as Russia and in North Africa (and in their languages) whilst such countries are hostile to the British people and to Britain itself.  Perhaps the BBC Trust could be amended so that the 7.3 million people living in all of the North West of England and the Isle of Man are served with better, more localised Regional Television that covers the entire Region well.

Even bringing the spend per person on Regional Television and Local Radio up to the national average would raise almost £2.3 million per annum. This sort of money would pay for an opt-out so that Cumbria and North West Lancashire get proper local coverage in North West regional news-bulletins.


BBC Annual Report 2016/17


Ian Pennell

#Cumbria #Cumbria #BBC #BBC #NorthWestTonight #RegionalNews

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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