Mark Spencer MP pushes for more BBC funding for the region.
Sherwood MP Mark Spencer has secured a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday June 23rd to discuss with MPs how BBC funding is divided across the regions. The Broadcasting giant agreed some time ago to spread its funding more evenly across the country, reducing the focus on London and making more programmes in the regions. Changes like moving many programmes to a new hub at Salford in Manchester played a big part in this.
However recent figures have shown that investment in the ‘Midlands’ region, which includes what we would call the East & West Midlands and the East of England, is the lowest in the country and has been falling. The premise of the BBC’s pledge is that they would reinvest 50% or more of the licence fee spend in each region, however in the Midlands last year the figure was just 8.5%. Per person that is just £12.40 per head, versus £755 per head in London. If investment had taken place at the same level as in the North and South, the Midlands would receive an additional £400m a year in BBC Licence Fee money. This money pays for staff, studios and making programmes in the region.
Now local MP Mark has decided that enough is enough, and that this area should get its fair share.
‘‘It’s not right that the Midlands should be under-invested. We are the hub of so many things and our economic growth has been staggering, but we don’t make TV programmes here because all of the funding goes to the North and the South. We get 8.5% of our tax payers’ money back, when it should be 50% and that’s just not fair. The Midlands has a rich vein of history and some incredible places and stories, like in Sherwood Forest right here in my constituency, and I would love to see the BBC investing in local people too. Creating programmes here, maybe having a central hub for them to work from like the one in Salford, would create jobs and further investment, as well as some great programmes. I hope that this debate will push the BBC to increase their investment here and have a bit of a strategy re-think.’’