Sunday 12 January 2020 6:08 pm

BBC to move two-thirds of jobs outside London as it doubles down on regions

The BBC plans to have two-thirds of its employees based outside London by 2027 as the embattled broadcaster hits back at accusations of metropolitan bias.

Director general Tony Hall said the corporation had a responsibility to “serve everyone” and “reflect every part of the UK”.

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“A decade ago, a third of the BBC was based outside London,” he wrote in an article for the Financial Times. “Today it is half. By 2027, I hope at least two-thirds of the BBC will be outside the capital.”

The public service broadcaster has come under pressure from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who last month said he would consider decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee – a move the BBC said would cost it £200m a year.

The government has also implemented a boycott of the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 Today programme amid allegations of bias, while No 10 sources have accused the corporation of catering to a “pro-Remain metropolitan bubble”.

However, Hall launched an impassioned defence of the BBC, which he said “can do more for Britain than ever”.

The media boss said that while the BBC faced tough competition from streaming rivals, it was set apart by its commitment to investing in British content.

“Every £1 we spend generates £2 for the UK economy,” he said. “We operate as an engine powering the whole creative sector.”

Hall acknowledged that the BBC “must work harder” to ensure its coverage reflected all parts of the UK, adding that it still had work to do resolving outstanding pay issues.

The organisation could be facing dozens of equal pay claims after Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed last week won a case against her employer over a huge disparity between her salary and that of Points of View host Jeremy Vine.

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The BBC moved a large part of its operations to Salford in 2004 in a bid to improve its offering to audiences in the north of England. Boosting its proportion of non-London workforce would mean relocating more than 3,000 employees, though it is not yet clear where these staff members would be based.

Last year Channel 4 moved its national headquarters from London to Leeds as part of a plan to create new jobs and stimulate investment outside the capital.