The BBC paid up to £150,000 in “excessive” relocation allowances to members of staff as part of the corporation’s £224 million move to a new base in Salford, a committee of MPs has found.
Some of the allowances paid were “hard to justify”, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found, and the BBC Trust acknowledged the deals would “aggravate” licence fee payers.
The committee said most aspects of the move were completed successfully and for £9m under the budget, but raised concerns about the long-term future of the Salford site, which is owned by the Peel Group.
The broadcaster offered London-based employees relocation deals to move to Salford and spent £24m on moving nearly 900 staff at an average cost of £28,000 per person. But in 11 cases, the cost of relocating staff exceeded £100,000 per person, with one costing £150,000.
The BBC claimed that these cases reflected the “higher stamp duty and other costs involved in relocating staff who owned high-value properties in the South East”.
The committee’s Labour chairwoman, Margaret Hodge, said: “The BBC did a good job in completing the move to Salford on time, within budget and without disruption to the television and radio services we all enjoy.
“However, the scale of some of the allowances paid to staff to relocate to Salford is difficult to justify.”