New BBC company approved

BBC Broadcast & Presentation has been cleared to become a limited company.

Approval for the plan was announced yesterday (January 23) by the Minister for Culture Media and Sport.

The decision came after BECTU notified Minister Tessa Jowell that the 700-plus BBC staff affected by the move had voted to accept guarantees from management on terms and conditions.

In a ballot last November 94% of voting members accepted a promise that pay, conditions of service, and annual pay bargaining, would mirror the BBC for the first two years of the new company's life. Staff had also been assured that they would remain full members of the BBC's final salary pension scheme.

Union members voting in the ballot were, however, resolutely opposed to the principle of being transferred into a wholly-owned BBC subsidiary. Almost 90% said that they did not support the move, which the management had argued would allow B&P to undertake more commercial work, with the prospect of more jobs in the department.

Broadcast & Presentation, which runs the play-out operation, and produces trails, for all the BBC's TV channels, is due to move to a new purpose-built technical centre at White City in 2003.

The new company, to be called BBC Broadcast Ltd, is due to start trading on April 2 2002. It joins Worldwide Ltd, Resources Ltd, and Technology Ltd, in the growing stable of ex-BBC departments which have converted into subsidiary companies.

24 January 2002