The BBC has come under fire after a lengthy document outlining plans for its ten-year charter failed to mention Birmingham once.
While the Government highlighted scant investment in the Midlands as an issue in its green paper outlining proposals to reform the corporation, the broadcaster’s response did not address the issue.
Its 103-page submission to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), named “British Bold Creative”, highlighted its positive impact on Salford, Cardiff and Glasgow, but did not mention Birmingham or the Midlands once.
The snub has been criticised as “outrageous” by Midland MPs who have campaigned for the BBC to address the shortfall of spending in the region.
While every other UK region sees at least half of what it spends on the BBC reinvested, that figure was 8.5 per cent in the Midlands last year, and will rise to less than 14 per cent next year.
Solihull’s Conservative MP Julian Knight said he felt the BBC was not listening to the views of Midlanders – despite almost a quarter of its revenue coming from this region.
Mr Knight, a former BBC reporter, said: “It is absolutely outrageous that there is no reference to Birmingham in this enormous document.
“It seems to me that the BBC is just having a conversation with itself.
“MPs from across the Midlands have made it clear that the current level of investment is unacceptable and again and again the BBC has made it clear that it isn’t listening.”
Edgbaston Labour MP Gisela Stuart said she sympathised with the BBC having to take on Government cuts, but said it would again be the Midlands that paid the price.
She said: “It just shows the BBC keeps telling us they are taking Birmingham and the Midlands seriously and when push comes to shove we are the first ones to fall off the edge.”
The Post has spent much of this year campaigning for a fairer deal from the next ten-year BBC charter, which would begin in 2017 .
All but £80 million of the £942 million raised by Midland licence fee-payers last year was spent outside this region.
A consultation paper written by the DCMS highlighted the issue of “regional delivery”, pointing to the Post’s campaign, which demands 50 per cent of investment in any region be returned there.
The paper stated that, while the BBC had shifted some operations to Salford, question marks remained over whether it was meeting its obligations to reflect the regions.
However, the BBC response made no reference to this.
It did, however, highlight the positive impact its investment has had in other UK cities.
The document stated: “The BBC also strengthens the creative sector by acting as an ‘anchor tenant’ for media/digital clusters across the UK – in Salford and Manchester with MediaCityUK, in Bristol with the Natural History Unit, in Cardiff with the drama village and in Glasgow with Pacific Quay.
“The BBC will play a key role in the transformation of central Cardiff as anchor tenant in Central Square.”
The BBC is currently looking at content for the new BBC Three, as part of a wider vision to create a digital centre of excellence.
A source has told the Post that Birmingham was “really well placed” for this.
In response to criticism over the “British Bold Creative” document, a BBC spokesman said the formal response to the consultation addressed the 19 questions which it posed.
She added: “We’ve been clear about our commitment to Birmingham.
“In September we also set out our proposals for the BBC’s programmes and services in the next charter , which set out our desire to establish centres of excellence for experimental online content and we look forward to discussing Birmingham’s proposals for this.”