The BBC has warned of “major risks” that the Salford move will exceed its £867m budget.
According to City AM, internal BBC documents express fears that the £64m it has set aside for redundancy, relocation, training and recruitment will not be enough.
It suggests that a disproportionate amount of long-serving, expensive staff will opt for redundancy – whilst those with low redundancy costs will relocate, partly at the expense of the BBC, which has committed to buying their homes as 85% of market value.
It says there are “major risks around [the] cost budget”, and that the fall in the value of the pound will also affect the total cost of the move.
Another internal BBC document, offering a breakdown of the budget, is reported to predict a £37m spend on furnishing the new offices. This includes £77,000 on three bespoke adjustable desks and £6.8m on 2,253 “workspaces”, costing £3,000 each.
It also predicts a £170m spend on rent by 2030 as well as £218m on new TV studio services and £15m on new radio and orchestra studios, according to the report.
The BBC said the documents quoted “early estimates” of the cost of the Salford move, although it has yet to confirm exactly when they date from. It added that they do not reflect the money that will be raised from the eventual sale of Television Centre and BBC Manchester’s existing base, the BBC’s existing efficiency programme, or the long-term savings the Salford move is projected to achieve.
“The figures do not include the significant savings that will be made in moving departments out of London after 2013 to the North of England,” a spokesman said.
“The BBC North project will create a new powerhouse of media production and innovation for the North of England offering new opportunities and local investment. The move to BBC North is still in its early stages so any budgets are clearly not final, however the BBC has committed to achieve a cost neutral outcome.”
It added that the estimate for furnishing the new offices includes meeting rooms and support areas, and are “budget numbers and not actuals”.