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BBC snookers itself over jobs quotas as it is forced to draft in Scottish workers for Crucible coverage

BBC snookers itself over jobs quotas as it is forced to draft in Scottish workers for Crucible coverage

access_time May 8, 2012 chat_bubble_outline 1 comment
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  • Scottish staff relocated to England and put up in ‘expensive hotels’
  • Former English crew who had built up a specialist knowledge working on the programme were sidelined

By Jill Reilly

PUBLISHED: 07:37 EST, 8 May 2012 | UPDATED: 10:02 EST, 8 May 2012

Production staff in an English TV crew were dismayed when they lost the chance to work at the World Snooker Championships for the BBC.

But their disappoint turned to anger, when they realised their jobs were still available, but had been replaced under a quota scheme which favoured  employing staff from Scotland. 

As a result, Scottish production crews were relocated to England and put up in a hotel – while the previous crews who had built up a specialist knowledge working on the programme were sidelined simply because they were English. 

Scottish production crews relocated to England were put up in a hotel - while the previouse English staff who had built up a specialist knowledge working on the programme were sidelined.

Out of a job: Scottish production crews relocated to England were put up in a hotel – while the previouse English staff who had built up a specialist knowledge working on the programme were sidelined

About a dozen people are thought to be have been replaced by workers from Scotland, for the two-week tournament in Sheffield, which ended last night with victory for Ronnie O’Sullivan over Ali Carter.

IMG is the company that produces the snooker championships for the BBC.

One freelancer, who used to earn up to £6,000 a week, working on the two-week tournament voiced his annoyance.

‘The absurd thing is that this an an event taking place in England. If happened the other way round – Scottish workers in Scotland losing their jobs to the English- you would never get Alex Salmond off the airwaves,’ he told The Times.

Quota: The BBC trust set a target of moving 50 per cent of programing outside London in 2008- this is why programmes such as BBC Breakfast moved from Television Centre, pictured, to Salford

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Quota: The BBC trust set a target of moving 50 per cent of programing outside London in 2008- this is why programmes such as BBC Breakfast moved from Television Centre, pictured, to Salford

He said local students used to get paid for doing the lower level roles such as making tea and other runner jobs, but ‘this year they have moved people from Scotland and ‘paying for expensive hotel rooms.’

Another worker, was told he could not be employed because ‘I did not have a Scottish address.’

Under rules enforced by Ofcom, public service providers, such as the BBC, comply with a quota for the number of workers they employ from outside London.

This is to ensure regions such as Scotland, Wales and Ireland get a fair and equal proportion of the possible jobs and funding for TV programmes.

In 2008, the BBC trust set a target of moving 50 per cent of programing outside London –  this is why programmes such as BBC Breakfast moved from Television Centre, in London to a new building in Salford.

They announced the plan would see more money spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at the ‘national hubs’ in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

Under the plan spending in Scotland, rose from 3.3% to around 9% of total BBC network programming investment.

Although BBC Vision director, Jana Bennett, stressed at the time:
“Growth in the nations will not come at the expense of the English regions, which we expect to account for one third of network production by 2016.’

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A BBC spokesperson said IMG gained the snooker contract partly because it had a commitment to recruiting from Scotland and said it seemed in ‘the spirit of our commitment to move production out of London. 

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