Senior manager expenses fall back down

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Senior manager expenses are back down, falling 18% according to the latest disclosure after a 19% rise at the previous count.

The BBC's top earners spent £168,314 between January and March this year after racking up £206,401 of expenses in the last three months of 2012.

Spending on taxis and flights was down, while the external hospitality bill was cut by almost half.

More was spent on hotels and internal hospitality than in the previous quarter, however.

A BBC spokesperson said: 'Expenses have fallen 18 percent this quarter and remain within a range proportionate to running a media organisation of this size. We continue to be mindful of how we spend public money and aim to drive down costs wherever possible.'

More spent on staff

The biggest percentage fall was in entertaining external guests, down 47% from £25,472 to £13,396, although some senior managers continued to splash the cash on staff.

Internal hospitality costs rose 10% from £7075 to £7764 - a figure that included the £550 Daniel Danker, former general manager, On Demand, spent on Connected Red Button launch celebrations for 25 of his team in January; £247.27 laid out by deputy head of news Fran Unsworth to show her appreciation for eight members of the Delhi bureau and a £200 dinner for eight of BBC Three controller Zai Bennett's team to mark the channel's tenth birthday.

Spending on taxis fell by 29% from £32,948 to £23,287, with flights dropping by 28% (from £65,654 to £47,483).

The latter was despite a rush of transatlantic flights in February including Bennett's £1248 trip to Los Angeles; BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow's £1383 flight to the same destination; creative director Alan Yentob's £1750 journey to Chicago, and former head of news programmes Stephen Mitchell's £3684.76 ticket to Washington.

Rail travel remained static at just short of £40,000.

Hotel bills up

Hotel bills saw a 12% rise, however, from £26,119 to £29,281 (12%). Joe Godwin, children's director, racked up a £1083.57 tab at the Warwick New York hotel, head of entertainment Katie Taylor's three nights in Cannes cost £1019.16, while former acting director general Tim Davie, now chief executive of BBC Worldwide, spent £434 on London hotels in February.

'There will be occasions when staff will need to stay in a hotel for work related purposes, so these costs fluctuate,' said the BBC. 'Although the rate of hotels has risen over time we keep this expenditure to a minimum with an agreed cap of £90 in London and £75 outside London.'

Gifts or hospitality received by senior managers were few, although Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, enjoyed a ticket to Manchester United v Real Madrid and Roger Mosey, the editorial director (and Arsenal fan) who left the BBC last week, watched Chelsea take on Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League.

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