Campaigning for a ‘Fair Share’ of BBC investment in the Midlands


You may have read that the BBC have committed to a new vision for Birmingham, with a promise of a £23.5 million investment for our city.

This is a major step forward in a long running campaign to boost the BBC’s presence in Birmingham and the Midlands more widely. Along with other Labour MPs, I have long been calling for a fair a share of BBC investment in our region. There is a huge gap between what people in the Midlands pay to the BBC and what is spent here. People in the Midlands provide the BBC with over 25% of the overall licence fee revenue, but only 2.5% of the BBC’s budget is spent in the region. While the corporation’s operational expenditure per licence fee payer is over £70 in the North and South, it now stands at just £16 in the Midlands.

On 23 October, I was one of a cross party group of Midlands MPs calling for a ‘fair share’ of BBC investment in our region. We delivered a petition from the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting, which has gathered over 4000 signatures of support, to BBC executives in Westminster, pressing the corporation to increase network TV and radio production in the region. This followed our parliamentary debate on the issue, and a meeting with the new BBC Director General Lord Tony Hall. So I welcome the major new announcements made by Peter Salmon, which aim to make our city a centre of digital excellence and will create 80 jobs here.

But it’s not the end of our campaign. We are calling on the BBC to produce and commission more TV and radio programmes in the area – to create more local jobs and better represent the local population. Producing more TV and radio shows here will boost our economy, support local creative industries, create new opportunities for young people and provide jobs for the talented writers, directors, actors and producers in our region. There remains a huge amount of creative talent here, and production facilities which are going unused.

We will keep the pressure on to bring the BBC back to Birmingham and the Midlands. 

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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