Local MP questions BBC's neighbourliness

Andrew Slaughter accuses corporation of community insensitivity

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Speaking in a commons debate on the BBC charter, Andrew Slaughter MP outlined his opinion on the future of the broadcasting corporation. His constituency (Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush) is home to a substantial amount of the BBC's real estate and a sizeable proportion of its work force. The area also has a growing number of independent media businesses which rely directly or indirectly on the BBC.

Slaughter, who used to be an employee of the BBC, stated that whilst he had a general appreciation of the company, he felt it “inevitable that I will be somewhat critical.”

He stated that “The BBC made a mistake in its recent decision on executive salaries. It was an inappropriate sleight of hand involving giving back as contractual rights most of what had previously been discretionary bonuses, and doing so at a very sensitive time. Many BBC staff are facing relocation, outsourcing or job cuts, and there is considerable anger at the sums of money that are being paid.”

On a more local theme, Mr Slaughter continued “The BBC is not always a good neighbour. The White City site sits directly next to the White City estate, which is a significant area of deprivation and low income in my constituency. I am not sure that the residents of that estate have always been welcome as employees or, indeed, as visitors to what is now called the media village.

"I wonder whether the BBC's management have thought through, in land planning terms, the effects of their intended outsourcing, relocation to Salford and redundancies. It has significant land holdings in the area, not only on the existing White City site, where there has been a great deal of office-building over the past few years, but on the White City development area, which is one of the largest brownfield development sites in Europe. If jobs are going from the area, what will happen to the buildings there? What will happen to Television Centre, which is the hub of that area, or to the local economy-the people and businesses who are dependent on the BBC?”

 

July 17, 2006