£8.35m severance paid at BBC Wales, FOI reveals

BBC Llandaff
Image caption BBC Cymru Wales is being affected by the search for savings across the corporation

BBC Cymru Wales has paid out £8.35m in redundancy packages over the past five years, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has uncovered.

The Western Mail newspaper had asked for the total amount paid on severance packages over £30,000.

The paper was told there were 127 staff members made redundant who received more than the specified amount.

BBC Cymru Wales said the redundancies will save more than £146m over nine years from 2008 to 2017.

A cap of £150,000 has been introduced on all future payments.

'Significant savings'

The FOI request comes after controversy over BBC severance payments, including almost £1m paid to former deputy director general Mark Byford.

The Western Mail had also wanted to know the job titles of the staff who received the payments - and how the redundancy amount was calculated.

In a letter of response the BBC refused to disclose this information to protect the individuals involved, citing the Data Protection Act 1998.

The broadcaster said the decision to reduce the workforce was taken by the BBC Executive following two licence fee settlements agreed with the UK government in 2007 and 2010.

It added that savings were being made under two restructuring schemes - Continuous Improvement and Delivering Quality First.

A BBC Cymru Wales spokesperson said: "Like the rest of the BBC, BBC Cymru Wales has faced significant savings targets over the last few years.

"In that context, these redundancies will have delivered more than £146m of savings in the nine years from 2008 to 2017 and a cap of £150k has been introduced on all future severance payments."

Matthew Sinclair, the chief executive of the campaign group TaxPayers' Alliance said "overly generous pay-offs" run the risk of undermining any savings by the BBC.

"Not only do they add to the bill faced by families but they also divert resources away from where they should be focused - actual programming," he said.

"It's vital that the broadcaster is as transparent as possible about payouts and redundancies, so licence fee payers can scrutinise the deals BBC bosses are agreeing to."

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