Figures released by the BBC show that the organisation spent nearly £30m on hotel rooms in just three years, according to the Daily Star. The bill was up 32 percent last year, which the BBC claimed was due to advanced bookings for the Sochi Olympics and the World Cup.
Overall the BBC spent £11.6m on hotels in 2013 this was up from £8.8m in 2012 and £8.4m in 2011.
Also revealed in the Freedom of Information request is the largest amount the corporation spent on a hotel room: £633. The BBC would not confirm who stayed there, if they stayed more than one night or even what country it was in. The only comment a BBC spokesman would make was that it was “not in the UK”.
They did name three hotels they used, they were the trendy 84-bedroom Westcote Art Hotel and the NH Doelen Hotel, in Amsterdam, and the Premier Dante Best Western Hotel in Barcelona. Rooms at the Art Hotel go for around £150 per room, which is above average for Amsterdam.
A BBC source said: “It’s fair to say that staff go all over the world and sometimes at short notice to cover events. But to spend more than £600 a night for a hotel room is taking the mick.” An official spokesman insisted: “Spend on hotels is subject to rigorous scrutiny. When travel is a necessity staff should stay in the most economical accommodation available.”
The spending will once again raise concern that the BBC is not using license fee payers’ money effectively. The corporation is unique in that it collects £145.50 from everyone who owns a colour television, whether they watch the BBC or not.
This enables them to outspend many commercial broadcasters without having to worry about the commercial viability of their projects. The license fee is also controversial as the BBCs output is generally deemed to be centre left, despite their official claims to be neutral. Many conservatives therefore object to paying the fee no matter what it was spent on.
The news also comes just weeks after it was revealed that more than 100 staff at the BBC make more than £100,000 a year, and 80 of them are on salaries of £150,000 or more. Also 13 executives were given pay rises of more than 10 percent, despite claims that the corporation were cutting back.