BBC North boss’ taxi expenditure defended

Peter Salmon

Peter Salmon

The BBC has defended northern boss Peter Salmon’s travel spending after the latest release of expenses information shows that he racked up bills of more than £6,000 in three months.

Director of BBC North, Salmon is today described as one of the corporations ‘big spenders’ with the release of details of his expenses claims.

The in-house magazine Ariel reports on several of the senior management expenses claims and says:

“Peter Salmon, head of BBC North, and Dominic Coles, director of operations, were also big spenders on travel. The executives spent a combined total of more than £7000 on flights to San Francisco, where the pair went to look at new broadcasting technology not available in the UK over four days.”

The latest release of details for the £387,000 a year boss of the Salford operation also shows claims for regular train travel between London and northern cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

There are also minicab journey prices detailed to mostly undisclosed places but the report of this quarter includes one for 166.72 to Gatwick Airport ‘to attend management board session’.

But a spokesperson for the broadcaster said the cheapest form of travel was used and taxis could be booked in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

“The BBC is a 24-hour organisation with offices across the UK, and, in common with many large businesses, it will incur travel-related costs. However, we are mindful that we are spending public money and we have policies in place to ensure spend on travel is proportionate and appropriate.

“The cheapest method of travel is always encouraged however on occasion taxi journeys are permitted in exceptional circumstances or where there are time constraints. Costs on taxis are down 49% since we began publishing expenses in 2009.”

Salmon’s expenses can be read in full at the BBC website here.

The BBC has been publishing the salaries and expenses of its senior managers who earn more than £150,000 or sit on a main BBC board since autumn 2009, when total claims reached £174,575. This latest quarter shows a total of £170,975 was claimed.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our expenses are stable for the period April-June 2013.

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