The BBC could be ordered to invest more of its £5 billion budget in the West Midlands, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has told MPs.
He said a review of the BBC’s Charter would consider concerns that it was pumping money into London and the North West at the expense of other regions including the West Midlands.
The BBC Charter, which sets out the BBC’s obligations, is due to expire at the end of 2016 and a new one will need to be drawn up before then.
For every family paying for their licence, the BBC spends just £12.40 in the Midlands while it invests £80.24 in the North, a hefty £122.24 in Wales and a staggering £757.24 in London.
The Birmingham Post has launched a campaign calling for half of the £942 million-a-year Midland families pay in licence fees to be reinvested in this region.
The MPs questioned Mr Whittingdale as he told the House of Commons that the BBC had agreed to fund free TV licences for over-75s from 2020/21. The cost was previously met by the Treasury.
Mrs Stuart told him: “Of the £942 million raised in the West Midlands on the back of the BBC licence fee only about 8.5 per cent is actually spent in the region.
“When the Secretary of State modernises the licence fee arrangements, will that include an obligation to have regional commissioners so that spending in the regions is more in keeping with the amount of money actually raised in the regions?”
The Culture Secretary told her: “The point the honourable lady raises is one that will certainly form part of the charter review and we will consider those options and any others at that time.”
Mr Knight pointed out that the BBC had invested in new premises in Salford, Greater Manchester, and in London.
He asked Mr Whittingdale: “Is he aware of the vast sums spent by the same BBC on delivering the Salford Media City and new Broadcasting House in London and how this bipolar approach has effectively drained the rest of the country of investment, and the Midlands in particular?”
Mr Whittingdale said he welcomed the investment in Greater Manchester, but added: “The questions that he raised are certainly ones that we will be looking at as a part of the Charter review.”
Mr Whittingdale also announced legislation will be brought forward in the next year to “modernise the licence fee” to cover public service broadcast catch-up TV - an apparent nod towards allowing charging for people who opt to use the iPlayer.
The BBC licence fee of £145.50 is also expected to rise in line with the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation, Mr Whittingdale said.
The Tory frontbencher added the Government will “consider carefully” the case for decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee.
How the BBC is shortchanging the Midlands