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31/03/2010

MPs Slam BBC's Accountability

The BBC's financial accountability is facing criticism.
A cross-party committee of MPs has called for greater transparency regarding its executive and talent costs and accusing it of presenting some of its audience figures "in a somewhat cavalier manner".
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee also attacked the corporation for highlighting "favourable over unfavourable information" in relation to spending on BBC3 claiming the true cost to viewers was almost double that published in the BBC's most recent annual report.
The committee's review of the BBC's 2008-2009 annual report questions how the corporation measures the success of its programmes and it also said the "reward packages of the director general and senior management of the BBC are seen to be out of step with the current economic climate".
The BBC has already revealed that its top 50 executives earn basic salaries of between £160,000 and £647,000, with nine executive directors, including director general Mark Thompson, sharing £4.6m, including bonuses and benefits.
The MPs argue that executives' pay should be benchmarked against "senior management pay scales in the public sector", rather than rival commercial companies such as ITV, and the "BBC must look to cutting costs".
The MPs also claimed that the BBC is being selective which audience figures it chose to use in its annual report – omitting those which do not tell such a flattering story. "We consider that some of the claims regarding BBC3 made by the BBC Trust and executive are not fully supported by the evidence."
(BMcC/GK)
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