City council leader Mike Whitby has slammed the BBC for its “appalling” treatment of Birmingham.
He said a decision to axe 150 jobs at the Corporation’s Mailbox headquarters was the latest example of a deliberate policy to starve the city of investment.
Coun Whitby told an emergency council debate that less than four per cent of the BBC’s programming budget was spent in the Midlands, compared with 8.2 per cent in the North of England and a massive 63 per cent in London.
The cuts now being pushed through, including moving to Bristol the Factual Unit which makes popular programmes like Gardeners World, would “perpetuate the iniquitous division of funding”, Coun Whitby warned.
During his speech the council leader revealed himself to have been an avid follower of The Brothers, a 1970s BBC TV drama filmed in Birmingham about the trials and tribulations of the Hammonds, a family haulage business.
Coun Whitby added: “Over the years BBC Birmingham has produced many iconic programmes.
“However, since the year 2000, and with the closure of Pebble Mill in 2004, the presence of the BBC in Birmingham and the Midlands region has dramatically shrunk.
“During that same time the BBC have opened new studios in Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and London.
“If you consider the size of our population, and the contribution we make to the licence fee, this is appalling.”
He accused the BBC of turning its back on Birmingham’s fast growing creative industries sector, where 5,800 businesses already employ 34,000 people.
“BBC Birmingham has fantastic state of the art radio studios and production editing facilities, only seven years old. Bristol, however, only has an old facilities and old studios,” Coun Whitby added.
Council opposition Labour leader Sir Albert Bore backed Coun Whitby and said he “deplored” the loss of 150 jobs.
Sir Albert added: “This will signals an erosion of commitment from one of the biggest media organisations in the world.”