Governors decide move to Salford would be value for money for licence fee
At their last ever meeting, the BBC Board of Governors today reached a decision that the proposed move from London to Salford of key BBC departments would represent value for money to all licence fee payers subject to agreeing the outstanding contractual issues with the mediacity:uk consortium.
The BBC Acting Chairman, Anthony Salz said:
"Today the Board of Governors received from BBC management and our independent advisers Deloitte a further evaluation of the potential costs and savings in London from a move of key departments to Salford.
"More detailed work will be needed during 2007 before decisions can be taken that will provide final robust plans.
"But the Governors are today recommending to the BBC Trust that a move to Salford would represent value for money to all licence fee payers.
"The BBC has been too London-centric for too long and for that reason the Board of Governors has supported the BBC's ambitious plans to establish a large production base in the North of England since they were first announced in December 2004.
"But our support was not unconditional. Licence fee payers most definitely want a BBC that reflects and brings wider benefits to all parts of the United Kingdom, but not at any price.
"We have always made clear that our final decision on this project will be based on two key factors: whether the move represents value for money for licence fee payers and the affordability of the project.
"The final decision on whether to go ahead will be a matter for our successors - the BBC Trust - once the outcome of the licence fee settlement is known.
"However, subject to agreeing the outstanding contractual issues with the developer, the Governors now believe that the move is in the interests of licence fee payers and the BBC.
"In the longer term the move to Salford would deliver savings, but over the next five years the project would mean a significant cash outflow without any offsetting savings.
"We know that there are many others outside the BBC who are equally committed to making this important project happen.
"The BBC Trust and the Director-General will look forward to working with all of them and Government to find a solution that ensures the project can go ahead.
"As we depart the BBC, the Board of Governors would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to everyone involved in this project.
"A great deal of work and effort has been applied to getting the BBC to the brink of massive change which we and the Director-General believe would bring benefit to all licence fee payers.
"Over the course of the present Charter, the Board of Governors has overseen a significant shift of investment and output out of London and into the rest of the UK.
"We very much hope that, through Salford and other developments, the BBC will be able to continue this positive and necessary process in the years to come."
Governance Unit/BBC Press Office