BBC Criticised For £24m Staff Relocation Costs
The multimillion-pound sum paid to BBC staff to help them relocate from London to Salford has been branded "difficult to justify" by MPs.
The £24m was spent relocating nearly 900 staff to MediaCityUK at an average of £28,000 per person.
There were 11 cases where the cost exceeded £100,000 per person, with one costing £150,000.
The move of several departments including BBC Sport, BBC Breakfast and Radio 5live was completed in April 2012.
The BBC developed the regional centre in Salford to address the fact that the majority of its decision-making and spending was being done in London.
Many BBC staff who work in Salford were unwilling to speak to Sky News about the relocation allowances, with one describing the move to the North West as a "sensitive issue" within the corporation.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee criticised the large sums paid to staff to make the move and concluded that in future the BBC needs to find a better balance between treating staff fairly and spending licence fee payers' money in a reasonable way.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said: "The BBC did a good job in completing the move to Salford on time, within budget and without disruption to the television and radio services we all enjoy.
"However, the scale of some of the allowances paid to staff to relocate to Salford is difficult to justify.
"There were 11 cases where the cost of relocating staff exceeded £100,000 per person, with one costing £150,000.
"It is not acceptable that the BBC also failed to make a proper record of the exceptions it made to its allowance policy.
"The longer term success of the move to Salford depends on the BBC achieving the wider benefits it promised.
"These include reducing the gap between northern and southern audiences in the BBC's market share and stimulating economic and other regional benefits, including creating up to 15,000 jobs.
"The BBC's decision to enter into a 10-year contract for studio space at Salford seems to take little account the fast pace of change in the broadcasting industry.
"The BBC could end up having to pay for studio services it no longer needs."
In response the BBC issued a statement saying: "We are pleased that the Public Accounts Committee has recognised BBC North was delivered on time, under budget and with no break in services.
"We have just celebrated two years of award-winning TV, radio and online content, and the whole region is sharing in the momentum of Media City with spend by the Public Service Broadcast channels in the region up from 15.9% to 20% ."