City MP Steve McCabe is taking the campaign for a fair share from the BBC in the Midlands to the House of Commons.
The Labour MP for Selly Oak, has called for a parliamentary debate on the renewal of the BBC Charter to demand more investment in the region.
This comes after the Post launched a campaign calling for 50 per cent of the £942 million contribution the Midlands makes to the state broadcaster to be returned here. Presently, 91.5 per cent of it is spent elsewhere in the UK.
The Post is calling for five things:
* The BBC charter should dictate that no more than half of revenue raised in a region is spent outside that region.
* It is not acceptable that prime-time production does not take place in the Midlands. As it represents more than 25 per cent of licence fee-payers, 12.5 per cent of prime-time production should take place here.
* A content fund, at least part-funded from the licence fee, should be created in the Midlands for drama and film-making.
* The BBC charter should dictate that not only funding but its structure, particularly commissioning, should be devolved to the regions – including the Midlands.
* It is unacceptable that there is no television network production facility in the Midlands. There must be investment in production facilities in this region.
Mr McCabe and Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart are set to meet with the BBC bosses tomorrow (Friday March 6) to discuss plans to bring the BBC Academy to Birmingham.
But with the BBC’s Charter is up for renewal next year, he said far more needs to be done for this region to get its fair share.
Mr McCabe said: “I am looking forward to hearing about the progress of bringing the BBC Academy to Birmingham. Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe and it makes good sense to base the Academy here where there is a rich pool of talent available.
“I am calling for a parliamentary debate to make the case for bigger investment in the Midlands, if we are to train the next generation of broadcasters here it makes no sense to send them off to London or Manchester. We need to see real programme making in the Midlands to keep our talent at home and to contribute to our local economy.”
Last year, the BBC announced 81 jobs were set to be created in Birmingham by bringing the BBC Academy to the Mailbox. The BBC Academy helps nurture talent and trains and develops future journalists, broadcasters and producers ready for the media industry.
Writing in this week’s Post, Joe Godwin, director of BBC Birmingham, said progress was being made in the city against the backdrop of the BBC having to make £800 million savings over the next two years.
He said: “It is important to know that many of the BBC’s programmes, across the entire range of content, are enjoyed as much or even more by people in Birmingham and the West Midlands than across the UK as a whole, who feel they’re getting great value for their 40p a day licence fee and love the BBC’s content, wherever it is made.
“We already have a huge range of production, and a big part of my job is to make sure people do know how much we do.”
The Post reported this week a petition had been raised against current spending levels at the BBC, and will be handed in to the Culture Secretary.