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In what is expected to be the biggest corporation shakeup in decades jobs will be moved around Britain to Birmingham, Salford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Leeds in a bid to shake off claims of a London-centric bias. It also comes as the BBC is facing continued criticism over the decision to scrap free TV licences for over 75s and anti-Brexit bias claims.
Salaries of key BBC presenters such as Gary Linker have also come under fire with the March of the Day host earning £1.75million in 2020, although he has since taken a 23 percent pay cut.
On Thursday morning the BBC’s 22,000 staff were briefed on the new plans to revamp the corporation.
Under the proposals a new “tailored” BBC One will be launched for Yorkshire, north west and north east England.
News will be strongly affected with the technology team moving to Glasgow whilst the climate and science unit go to Cardiff.
Major BBC operations are to move out of London
Tim Davie is overseeing a major reform of the BBC
BBC Two’s flagship Newsnight show will be presented from across the UK, rather than just London, whilst Radio 4’s Today programme will take place outside the capital at least 100 times each year.
The BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat team, which aims at younger viewers, will move to Birmingham which will also house the BBC Asian Network.
Culture will also be impacted with Radio 3 and much of 6 Music shifting to Salford, where the BBC already has a major base.
The BBC Concert Orchestra will also leave the capital whilst some Proms to be held outside of London.
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A number of major BBC departments will move out of London
Tim Davie, the new BBC director general promised major reform when he took over from Lord Tony Hall last year.
Backing the moves he said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC.
“These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent.”
Mr Davie argued the changes will turn the BBC into “a genuinely UK-wide organisation” that will “play our part in supporting social and economic recovery”.
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Mr Davie said the BBC must “serves and represents every part of this country”
As a result of the moves the BBC claims it will spend “at least an extra £700 million outside London” by 2027-8.
Since becoming director general last year Mr Davie has vowed to ensure the BBC “serves and represents every part of this country”.
The corporation has been accused of being too London centric and failing to represent the entire nation.
Speaking to the BBC Tory MP Julian Knight, chair of the House of Commons culture and media committee, welcomed the move to “give licence fee payers greater bang for their buck”.
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The BBC is funded by the licence fee which must be paid by anyone who wants to watch live TV, including online, in the UK.
Some conservatives have argued the corporation has an inherent liberal bias and are calling for non-payment of the licence fee to be decriminalised.
The Government had been considering decriminalising watching live TV without a licence fee but this decision has been pushed back until at least 2022.
It costs £157.50 per household each year for a colour TV licence or £53 for black and white only.
The Defund the BBC campaign was launched in 2020
Those caught watching television without a licence can be fined up to £1,000 in addition to court costs.
People have previously been jailed for failing to pay this fine though none are currently believed to be in prison.
In return for funding from licence fee payments the BBC is supposed to produce politically impartial content.
However the Defund the BBC campaign, launched last year, accuses the corporation of “waste and bias” and has accumulated more than 100,000 Twitter followers.