The BBC spends an astonishing £27,000 every working day on taxi fares alone, new figures have revealed. In total, the taxpayer funded corporation has racked up a mind-boggling £21 million over the last three years merely on ferrying its people around by cab. Despite the lavish spending, the BBC claims to be hard up, and will seek a budgetary increase when its charter is renegotiated in 2016.
The sums came to light via a Freedom of Information request filed by The Sun. The results showed that the BBC had spent £18.8 million on account bookings and a further £2 million on expenses, which paid for 830,000 journeys over three years.
The longest trip was a journey of 120 miles, costing £279.66, equivalent to 1.9 licence fees, whereas the most expensive was £322.62, or 2.2 licence fees.
A spokesman for the BBC said “The BBC broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, placing different demands on our staff.” The corporation has also tried to pin the blame on the move of BBC HQ to Broadcasting House in central London.
Conservative Member of Parliament Andrew Bridgen was outspoken in his criticism, saying: “I’m sure these figures will stun hard-working licence fee payers. The BBC led the outcry about MPs claiming for taxis. Maybe they should take a leaf out of their own book now.”
The staggering sum comes hot on the heels of transparency figures showing that 91 BBC executives take home more than £150,000 a year, with Director General Lord Hall raking in close to half a million pounds a year.
According to the Freedom Association’s Axe the TV Tax campaign, the BBC has wasted more than £1 billion of taxpayers money over the last two years alone. They have now launched a petition calling on all party leaders to include in their next election manifestos a pledge to review BBC funding and consider a move to a subscription based service, saying “Everyone, particularly those families on low incomes, should have a genuine choice about what programmes they are willing to pay to watch.
“The BBC funding structure is becoming increasingly unsustainable and out of keeping with the modern media environment and needs urgent reform to reflect new trends and habits.
“With a total revenue of more than £5 billion last year, the BBC has nothing to fear from competition, which will make the Corporation more accountable and less open to the criticism it faces for wasting taxpayers’ money.
“Only when people are able to vote with their feet will the service truly be accountable for the decisions it makes on behalf of its users.”
But the BBC has defended the licence fee, arguing that “It’s vital that programmes like EastEnders, Strictly, Sherlock, Doctor Who and Match of the Day can be watched by everyone, not a select few.”