Half of BBC bosses refuse move to Manchester

Half of affected senior BBC managers, including some at BBC Sport and Radio 5 Live, have refused to re-locate from London to Manchester, it is reported.

The deadline for BBC executives to agree to the move, planned for 2011, was yesterday. Despite heavily subsidised relocation grants and travel subsidies, James Porter, the head of sports news, and Gordon Turnbull, the head of radio sport, were reported by the Daily Mail‘s Charlie Sale as having decided against going north.

Dave Gordon, the popular head of major sports outside broadcasts, is also to stay in London, where he will work on coverage of the 2012 Olympics.

Sale questioned whether the wholesale move of BBC Sport to Salford could still go ahead without such senior executives, especially just a year before the London Olympics, the biggest sports operation in the Corporation’s history.

Now, is reporting that at least another 12 of the 30 BBC managers affected have said that they will not move from London.

As well as BBC Sport and Radio 5, other departments due to make the move north are children’s, learning, and future media and technology.

Those who have decided not to go to Salford now face being redeployed within other departments or made redundant. A source said negotiations on the future of some who have opted not to move have already begun.

More than 1,600 staff are affected by the move from London, plus 800 being transferred from the BBC’s existing Manchester offices. The controversially generous relocation package includes the BBC guaranteeing to pay 85 per cent of the value of the employees’ current homes, paying up to £3,000 for “carpets and curtains” in new houses, as well as the payment of professional fees. Other staff will have to decide later this year, with the new centre at the Media City UK development due to open in 2011.

According to the Guardian report, the economic recession has helped to persuade many BBC staff members to make the move, rather than face the uncertainties of finding other jobs in these troubled times. “Given the economic circumstances, a lot of people are looking at Salford and thinking that’s not a bad deal,” a source told the website. “The economic situation has definitely helped.”

As well as Gordon, Porter and Turnbull, controller of learning Liz Cleaver has said she will not move and so will step down from her job later this year.

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