Salford hotel bill rises to £1.9m

MediaCityUK The BBC rents three buildings at MediaCityUK in Salford

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The BBC's hotel bill for people staying in Greater Manchester rose from £744,890 to £1.9m between the financial years 2010/11 and 2011/12.

The accommodation costs were for staff, contractors and programme guests visiting or working at the corporation's new offices in MediaCityUK and were revealed to the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act.

A breakdown shows that in 2010/11, the hotel bill for people staying in Manchester and neighbouring Salford was £690,237 and £54,653 respectively.

In 2011/12, when staff migrated to the BBC North offices, the costs jumped to £1,000,225 (Manchester) and £924,607 (Salford).

The sum includes e-expenses as well as reservations via the central booking system.

Around 2300 staff started work at the new Salford offices in 2011/12, including those who moved from London, BBC Manchester and new joiners.

More production outside London
Glasgow There was a reduction in hotel bills for people staying near the Scotland headquarters in Glasgow

A BBC spokeswoman said the hotel costs were incurred during a period "when the BBC's new offices in Salford were being developed into a fully operational broadcasting base".

She added: "These figures therefore cover accommodation costs for the team responsible for the technology fit-out and technical proving and staff from the moving departments, including Sport, Children's and Radio 5Live, who were initially operating over two sites - broadcasting from their base in London and preparing their new base in Salford.

"The BBC Academy has also been going through a heightened period of activity in Salford, training staff for the move to MediaCityUK's fully digital environment, and the significant change in working and technology that entails."

It is expected that, since the first migration of staff is now complete, hotel costs for the current financial year will be lower.

However, another 1000 staff will move from London to Salford before 2017, including BBC Three.

The FoI response also revealed that hotel costs in Glasgow dropped from £617,997 to £581,689 during 2010-12.

Belfast accommodation costs also fell from £199,274 to £174,280.

The BBC aims to make at least 50% of network output outside London by 2016 as it tries to improve its reflection of the rest of the UK and increase audience approval.

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