Posts Tagged ‘National Audit Office’

Schapps is wrong about its anti-Tory bias, but right that the BBC is too big, costly and unaccountable

28/10/2013, 12:30:50 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Why should the BBC be immune from public spending cuts? This is the question Grant Schapps should have raised in his interview with yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph.

But instead the Conservative party chairman fell back on the familiar trope that the Corporation is some haven of left-wing zealotry and anti-Tory bias.

It’s of course a silly argument to prosecute when you consider the Corporation’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson, is a former activist in the Young Conservatives, its main political interviewer, Andrew Neil, is an adent Thatcherite and its chairman, Lord Chris Patten, is a predecessor of Schapps’ as Tory chairman.

The BBC does indeed have a bias, but it’s towards a metro-centric liberalism that despises traditional right-wing and left-wing politics and any opinion not originating from within its rarefied cloister.

The real issue with the BBC remains its humungous cost. The £3.6 billion a year that the BBC spends is seemingly immune from the harsh economising facing every other inch of the British public sector.

Auntie’s annual budget dwarfs the £3.5 billion to be spent on affordable housing over the next four years. And over the five years between 2010 and 2015, the BBC’s total domestic budget will have been £22 billion – half the proposed cost of HS2.

Schapps was on sounder footing, though, in criticising the BBC’s culture of exceptionalism. His calls to see the BBC fully comply with Freedom of Information requests and to open its accounts to the National Audit Office are perfectly in order. As is publication of all expenditure over £500 – a move already commplace in local and central government.

“They have ended up working in this culture which is buried in the last century, which is ‘we are the BBC, we do what we like, we don’t have to be too accountable’,” he rightly pointed out.


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