BBC’s MediaCity move should inspire other institutions to relocate North, says think tank

The success of the BBC’s move to MediaCity should pave the way for the relocation of other leading institutions such as the Royal Opera House, an independent think tank has said.

Dr Patrick Diamond, a former advisor to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said in a pamphlet for Civitas that the shifting of symbolic institutions away from the capital would show that politicians were serious about narrowing the north-south divide.

The Royal Opera House in London

The Royal Opera House in London

In Transforming the Market: Towards a new political economy, he writes: “There is evidence to suggest the BBC has had a positive effect on the creative economy of the North West of England.

“Key public institutions ought to be dispersed outside London. For example, the House of Lords ought to have a regional base; cultural institutions such as the Royal Opera House and the British Museum ought to be re-located in northern cities.”

In May, a National Audit Office report for the BBC Trust concluded that it was “too early to judge the long-term impact and value for money of the move for licence fee payers” of the corporation’s relocation.

It said: “This will depend on the BBC’s ability to achieve a sustained improvement in audience approval in the north, embed new ways of working to achieve efficiencies of £151 million and provide sustainable economic benefits for the region.

“The BBC has developed an appropriate approach to measuring the future impacts of the move but has not yet set out clearly how it intends to make all of its planned efficiency savings.”

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