BBC Trust raises budgets to cover rent
Wednesday, May 19 2010, 10:11 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,
The BBC Trust has increased the corporation's annual budgets for television and radio services to cover an extra £23m of rent required after selling off its freehold properties.
Yesterday, the Trust published details of new service licences for each of the 28 BBC TV, radio and online services for the 12 months to the end of March 2011.
The governing body said that it has spread additional property rental costs of £23m a year across all service licenses. The move is designed to "reflect the planned and foreseen rise in property costs as a result of the modernisation of the BBC estate and the planned transition from a freehold to a leasehold estate".
Other major changes include an £8.5m increase in budget for BBC Children's as recommended by the Trust's service review last year.
As part of the changes, digital channels Cbeebies and CBBC will also regain funding that was previously allocated to BBC One and BBC Two. CBBC will see its budget rise from £36.3m to £82.1m and the CBeebies budget will grow from £17.7m to £30.9m.
Extra money has also been allocated to local TV and radio services in the regions and nations, predominantly due to "ongoing service efficiencies".
However, efficiencies at BBC HD and BBC Parliament have resulted in "reductions" to their individual baseline budgets.
The BBC has recently adopted a strategy of selling off large swathes of its property portfolio, including Woodlands in west London and Kingswood Warren in Surrey.
The corporation is also currently preparing to relocate five departments to the new MediaCity base in Salford, where it will rent space from development company Peel.
"Following careful scrutiny, the Trust has approved these new service licences on the basis that these are, in the main, accountancy changes to more accurately reflect the costs that services incur, along with some targeted increases in investment in children's and local programming identified as part of recent reviews," said BBC trustee Rotha Johnston, chair of the finance and compliance committee.
"We are clear that service licences must be as transparent as possible; our forthcoming scheduled review will tell us if this is the case."
The Trust has also confirmed that it intends to review how it manages service licenses in the future to ensure they remain in line with targets.