Prescott condemns 'outlandish' BBC resettlement costs for Salford move - Press Gazette

Prescott condemns 'outlandish' BBC resettlement costs for Salford move

John Prescott has launched an attack on the BBC for its “ridiculous” wages and the cost of its relocation to Salford.

The former Deputy Prime Minister used his regular Sunday Mirror column to criticise the taxpayer-funded broadcast after the National Audit Office last week unveiled its relocation bill.

The NAO’s report showed that the corporation spent £24 million moving staff to its new Media City HQ in Greater Manchester, including 188 individual payments of at least £50,000 and 11 of £100,000 or more.

Prescott said that management at the BBC “seems to be on another planet”.

He added: “In this time of austerity, it continues to pay ridiculous bonuses and wages. And while I’m in favour of the BBC moving 5 Live, BBC Sport and other production bases to Salford, can we really be expected to foot the bill for outlandish resettlement costs?”

The NAO criticised the BBC for its overly generous relocation deals. The report said: “There are clearly question marks over the generosity of the relocation packages offered to staff”.

It also highlighted the lack of documentation for the move and “inadequate” handling of the exceptions to its standard relocation package. However, it said the overall process was handled well.

The report added that it was “too early to judge the long-term impact and value for money of the move for licence fee payers”.   

Earlier this month, the National Union of Journalists and media union Bectu both criticised the BBC after it offered below inflation pay rises to staff. Bectu urged members to reject the deal while the NUJ is due to meet with management in an effort to negotiate an improved offer.

The pay deal came after the BBC hired three new executives on a combined salary of more than £1 million.