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MU Broadly Welcomes BBC Initiative While Highlighting Importance of Future Work for Musicians

The MU responded today to the announcement by the BBC that the corporation is set to move a selection of its key departments and staff away from London with the aim of making it more inclusive of the entire UK.

Published: 18 March 2021 | 3:20 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
Photograph of the BBC Portland Place building, a large grey building with art decco features. The sky above is a bright blue.
“The Union is working to understand how this major relocation will work in practice and what its impact will be on members.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

The BBC has announced that it will be moving entire departments and news divisions to Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow and Salford in a plan which it describes as “its biggest transformation in decades.”

Plans include:

  • The BBC Concert Orchestra and some Proms to leave London, plus a music events calendar more rooted across the UK.
  • Key daytime strands on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 2 will be moved from London and made across the UK.
  • Radio 3 will be rooted in Salford, along with the majority of 6 Music.
  • A commitment to commission and produce "a clear majority" of TV programmes across the UK and not in London.
  • A commitment to locate 50% of the money spent on network radio and music outside London by 2028.

Amongst numerous other things, many of which are described in more detail on the BBC’s website.

A vision for increasing investment across the UK

Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, said:

"We support the BBC in its mission to better deliver for the whole of the UK, improve its offering to audiences and create jobs. We also fully support its vision for increasing investment across the UK, becoming less London-centric and developing and nurturing regional talent."

Geoff Ellerby, MU National Organiser for Recording & Broadcasting, said:

“The Recording & Broadcasting team welcomes the BBC’s strategy Across the UK and endorses the commitment of the BBC to play a fundamental role supporting live music and new UK artists across live events and studio sessions.”

The Union has also responded today to the plans for the BBC Concert Orchestra to be relocated out of London.

Our priority is to look after the talented and dedicated musicians employed by the BBC

Jo Laverty, MU National Organiser for Orchestras, said:

“I have been in discussion with the BBC with regards to the intention of moving the BBC Concert Orchestra’s base from London to outside of the M25.

“The Union is working with its members in the Concert Orchestra, our Union Steward and the orchestra management to understand how this major relocation will work in practice and what its impact will be on members.

“Our priority is to ensure we safeguard jobs and look after the talented and dedicated musicians employed by the BBC."

The MU will continue to keep a watching-brief on how the changes proposed by the BBC are implemented and where the opportunities and challenges lie for MU members.

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