'Bloated' BBC sends 400 to cover Glastonbury

The BBC faced criticism over the weekend after the corporation sent 400 employees to cover the Glastonbury music festival.

The corporation has revealed that it had 125 staff, 150 freelances and 130 short-term contractors at the festival over the weekend to provide coverage for BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, an interactive digital TV channel, Radio 1, 6 Music, 5 Live and a dedicated website.

The staffing total for Glastonbury is 37 less than total number of BBC people sent to cover the China Olympics this year.

The criticism comes as the BBC comes under pressure over the salaries of its top executives, which were revealed last week. They showed that 27 BBC executives earn more than the Prime Minister’s £187,000 a year.

The BBC’s spending has come under renewed scrutiny following proposals put forward by the Government earlier this month to take 3.5 per of the BBC’s funding, around £130m a year, and use it to fund public-service broadcasting outside the corporation. The proposal is being fiercely resisted by the BBC.

Conservative MP Philip Davies, who sits on the House of Commons Culture Select Committee, told the Mail on Sunday: “I can’t imagine any other broadcaster sending this many people to cover one festival. This demonstrates once again that the BBC is a bloated organisation. It doesn’t operate according to the rules that other broadcasters have to follow.”

A spokesman for the BBC said: “Our coverage of the festival is not comparable with the Olympics. We are the official broadcast partner to Glastonbury and are responsible for all broadcast infrastructure and transmission. Our pictures will be used around the world.”

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