Outgoing BBC governors back Salford move
LONDON - The outgoing BBC board of governors has given its seal of approval to the proposed £400m move of key programming departments to Salford, claiming it will offer licence payers value for money, but the final decision over the proposed move is likely to be made by the Government.
At the board's last meeting before it disbands and is replaced by the BBC Trust on January 1, BBC acting chairman Anthony Salz gave his backing to the Salford move, saying that the decision would "represent value for money to all licence fee payers".
Under the proposals, the corporation would move sport and its children's programming departments from London to Salford in an effort to cut costs and project a less London-centric image nationally.
In October, BBC director-general Mark Thompson said the BBC would not be able to support the proposed relocation if the government did not agree to its request for a licence fee increase of 1.8% above the rate of inflation.
However, the ultimate decision on whether the BBC will move some departments to Salford is likely to rest with the Government, which will specify what the licence fee money should be invested in.
Salz insisted it was up to the BBC Trust to make the decision. He said: "The final decision on whether to go ahead will be a matter for our successors -- the BBC Trust -- once the outcome of the licence fee settlement is known.
"The BBC has been London-centric for too long and for that reason the board of governors has supported the BBC's ambitious plans to establish a large production base in the north of England since they were first announced in December 2004."
Under the provisions specified in the current BBC Charter, acting chairman Anthony Salz will remain in the post until the board of governors is dissolved at midnight on December 31 2006.
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