BBC plans to axe 150 jobs in Birmingham have been slammed by MPs as a major blow to the region’s economy.
Media and creative businesses across the West Midlands will be hit by the broadcaster’s proposals to downgrade its operations in the city, MPs said.
Birmingham MPs have united to express their opposition to the plans in a House of Commons motion.
It warned: “The BBC’s current plans will mean there will be virtually no network television made in the West Midlands and productions such as Countryfile, Coast, Hairy Bikers and Points of View will no longer be produced in Birmingham.”
The motion was signed by MPs including Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak), Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston), Richard Burden (Lan Northfield), Roger Godsiff (Lab Hall Green) and Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) as well as Geoffrey Robinson (Lab Coventry North West) and David Wright (Lab Telford).
It follows the BBC’s announcement that it is axing 150 jobs as part of plans to save hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
The Factual Unit, which makes programmes such as Gardeners World and the Hairy Bikers, will move to Bristol. There will also be cuts to radio, current affairs and news operations.
Total BBC staff in Birmingham will fall from 600 to around 450. Nationally the corporation is set to shed 2,000 jobs by 2016.
The motion said: “This will have a damaging effect on the life and economy of the West Midlands . . . this damage will become irreversible as the region will no longer be able to attract the media companies and skilled workers that form the basis of this viable economy.”
BBC cuts will also affect media production across the region’s universities and colleges as their will be less demand for their work, the MPs said.
Mr Godsiff, who has also written to BBC Director General Mark Thompson to condemn the plans, said: “The BBC will have to pay out significant relocation or redundancy packages to around 100 members of staff.
"They will also be abandoning the state of the art technical facilities at the Mailbox where the BBC is situated in Birmingham that cost £40 million to install.
“The lease for the Mailbox has no break clause and the BBC will be paying 2.4 million pounds a year to rent the Mailbox space, whether there are any people in it or not. This is broadcast economics gone crazy and a complete waste of the licence fee.”