Anorak News | Daily Mail And Tax Payers’ Alliance Attacks BBC Over Its Free Trees For A Better Planet

Daily Mail And Tax Payers’ Alliance Attacks BBC Over Its Free Trees For A Better Planet

by | 23rd, November 2009

daily-wail1115THE Daily Mail is no fan of the BBC and free trees. The BBC is full of guff – only this morning it gave us two climate change stories:

1. “BBC2, 7pm Wed 25 Nov: Can Obama Save the Planet?“, presented by Justin Rowlatt.

2. A story in which we learnt – with no facts – that Australian bush fires are arriving earlier than ever and are more intense, and that Australia is sometimes called – get this – “the Saudi Arabia of coal“.

MacGuffin notices that its “latest pathetic assault on the BBC comes in a story about trees”. He has more:

BBC under fire for Autumnwatch tree giveaway costing licence fee payers £150,000 reveals:

The Beeb is handing out 300,000 free trees at a thousand different garden centres, nurseries and DIY stores nationwide.

Each sapling has cost the corporation 32 pence – £96,000 in total

Yes, that’s £96,000 on trees, not the £150,000 claimed in the headline. But the story adds:

This summer, it spent £57,500 on giving away 250,000 packets of vegetable seeds at 23 pence per pack as part of its ‘Dig In’ campaign.

So in tree-planting and ‘grow your own veg’ campaigns linked to the nature series Autumnwatch, the BBC has spent £153,500 on seeds and saplings.

This is an excellent idea and – refreshingly – several of the comments on the Mail story think so too. (Just to annoy the TPA and Mail: If you want to join the campaign and plant a tree on 5 December, the Autumnwatch website has all the details)

Of course, when you see the words ‘under fire’ you know this is the work of some publicity-hungry, rent-a-quote group who want to see their name in the paper:

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has accused [the BBC] of misusing licence fees as if it were a ‘charity with a bottomless pit of cash’.

Yes, predictably, it’s them. Susie Squire from the TPA adds:

‘It is totally misguided for the BBC to blow huge amounts of licence-payers’ cash on trees and vegetable seeds when there are numerous worthy bodies working on these causes’.

‘Huge amounts of licence-payers’ cash’? Really?

If you take the overall BBC income for 2009 as a starting point – which is £4.6billion – then £153,000 amounts to 0.0033%.

Even if you are feeling generous and work out the percentage from the licence fee and government grants (so excluding sales) then £153,000 equals 0.004%.

It’s 0.0034% of the BBC’s £4,491.7 billion 2009 expenditure.

It’s 1,073 licence fees.

It’s a non-story.

But we now know this: the TPA thinks 0.003% is ‘huge’.

Posted: 23rd, November 2009 | In: Reviews Comments (5) | TrackBack | Permalink