THE BBC has blown more than £745million while axing free TV licences for millions of OAPs, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.
Corporation bosses have squandered vast sums on bungled building projects, bad investments and adverts on Facebook.
Gary Lineker is the BBC’s highest earner, making a whopping £1.75m a year[/caption]
They are also pouring millions of pounds into pension pots for rich fat cats and boosting pay for high-earning presenters.
Meanwhile, 3.7million hard-pressed pensioners — including nearly a million service veterans — have been ordered to fork out £154.50 a year if they want to watch television from 2020, after the BBC scrapped automatic freebies for the over-75s.
The annual amount needed by 2021/2022 to keep the cherished perk is £745million — the exact sum we found has been frittered away.
Tory MP Peter Bone described the figures as “disgraceful” and called for BBC fund managers to be held to account. He said: “The BBC is mismanaging its accounts and now over-75s are having to pay.
“In any private company the accountants would be fired immediately. There is simply no way the public would be expected to pay for their mistakes. Instead the BBC are penalising people who have worked hard all their lives and are now relying on state pensions.”
Labour MP Chris Evans, who is on the Public Accounts committee, said: “We expect the BBC to be innovative and at the forefront of technology.
“You don’t get to where the BBC is globally without taking some risks and ultimately some bad decisions.
“But the BBC must be mindful that it’s public money it is spending so it should not be taking unnecessary risks. The public demands value for money — anything less and it must, rightly, be held to account.”
The Beeb’s biggest financial disaster is its pension scheme.
According to the latest annual report, it has a £1.8billion black hole which it is scrambling to plug.
Between now and 2028, bosses plan to redirect an average of £187.5million of licence fee money every year as part of a recovery programme.
Insiders say the crisis has been caused partly by the inflated pensions of employees, including Alan Yentob, who resigned as the BBC’s creative director in the wake of a 2015 charity scandal and is thought to have a £6million pension pot.
The new licence fee demands will start next June. Only viewers aged over 75 and on pension credit will escape the charge. The BBC has set aside £250million to cover this.
The BBC have spent £172m on building projects[/caption]
The BBC’s Jimmy Savile cover-up report cost a fortune but was never published in full[/caption]
Our research found the following waste:
1) Lonely Planet (£80million) — Commercial subsidiary BBC Worldwide bought the travel guide group Lonely Planet for £130million in 2007 then sold it in 2013 at a loss of £80million.
2) Building projects (£172million). The BBC overspent on New Broadcasting House in London by £55million and the Pacific Quay development in Glasgow by £62million. It also had to pay £55million to keep staff in other buildings.
3) Digital Media Initiative (£98.5million). The BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which was supposed to allow staff to access its entire audio and video archive by computer rather than on tapes transported between offices, was also a huge drain on licence fee cash.
A 2014 parliamentary inquiry concluded: “The DMI was a complete failure. Licence fee payers paid nearly £100million for this supposedly essential system but got virtually nothing in return.”
Later, John Linwood was sacked as the Corporation’s chief technology officer over the fiasco. He claimed he was made a scapegoat and sued. He offered to settle the case for £50,000 weeks before it was heard, but the BBC refused — and lost. It had to pay him £76,900 compensation plus £498,000 in costs to cover legal fees.
4) Headhunting (£354,000). In 2011 the Corporation paid a recruitment firm to fill two senior posts before promoting the same BBC executive, George Entwistle, from within its own ranks both times.
5) Lord McAlpine payout (£185,000 plus costs). A 2012 Newsnight report led to the ex-Tory Treasurer being wrongly linked to historic allegations of child sexual abuse.
6) Jimmy Savile cover-up report (£3million). The BBC’s 2012 Pollard Review into the BBC’s management of a Newsnight investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children by ex-BBC host Savile cost a fortune but was never published in full and resulted in no job losses.
7) Golden goodbyes (at least £2.9million). Execs were given vast pay-offs. Former Director-General George Entwistle got £450,000 in 2012 — twice his entitlement — when he quit after just 54 days in the job.
The Lord McAlpine payout was a huge £185,000[/caption]
Cliff Richard was paid £2.5million by the BBC after they showed live footage of a police raid at his house[/caption]
8) Cliff Richard payout (£2.5million). The BBC showed live footage of a police raid at the singer’s Berkshire home in 2014, publicly naming him as a suspected sex offender without any evidence. No charges were ever brought and innocent Cliff sued the BBC.
A BBC spokesman later said: “We are pleased Sir Cliff Richard, the BBC and South Yorkshire police have reached an amicable settlement of Sir Cliff Richard’s legal costs.”
9) EastEnders set (£27million). Last year there was a massive overspend on the soap’s new set, while viewing figures plummeted.
10) BBC Scotland (£32million a year). Launched in February this year, the channel has had a tiny audience share, with 21 of its programmes attracting zero viewers.
11) BBC Alba (£9million a year). Broadcasting for up to seven hours a day, the station caters for a tiny number of Scottish Gaelic speakers.
12) Pensions (£187.5million per year, on average). Recovery plan designed to meet a £1.8bn shortfall.
13) BBC presenters’ tax debt (£12million). HMRC found that for years some BBC presenters were wrongly paid as freelancers. The Corporation has set aside the money which will be paid in return for the taxman dropping cases against hundreds of current and former stars.
14) BBC presenters’ pay hikes (£11million). Some top-earning celebs including Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball have had huge pay rises. Lineker is the BBC’s highest earner, pocketing £1.75million a year.
15) Executive pay rises (£206,500). Six BBC bosses had inflation- busting pay hikes, including Ken MacQuarrie, Director of Nations and Regions, whose 30 per cent rise last year took his pay to £325,000.
16) Employee pay rises (£7.7million). 1,145 staff were given bumper increases in the past 12 months. Figures show 889 staff were granted a rise of ten to 20 per cent while another 256 got more than 20 per cent last year. The average increase was £6,980 a year.
17) Social media ads (£100million). The Beeb wants to lure younger viewers after it emerged that 16 to 34-year-olds typically watch BBC TV for just two minutes a week.
Zoe Ball is of the BBC’s highest paid presenters[/caption]
The BBC defended most of the expenditures identified by The Sun on Sunday as necessary.
Regarding its outlay on social media ads, it said: “The idea we shouldn’t try to let people know about programmes they may like is odd.”
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The spokesman went on to claim: “The notion that a list of things from the distant past — some of which are financially wrong — would somehow negate a yearly cost of £745m is financially illiterate.”
The spokesman went on to say the corporation has insurance to cover legal fees which means it would not have paid out all of the £2.5million to Sir Cliff Richard.
It also said the cost of its “top talent” was cut by nearly ten per cent and that no licence fee income was used to buy Lonely Planet.
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