Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

BBC boss spent £120 on cupcakes

BBC head of comedy Shane Allen spent £120 on 48 cupcakes, expenses show

A senior BBC executive spent £120 of public money on cupcakes, according to the latest expenses claims released by the corporation.

Head of comedy Shane Allen, who is paid a salary of £207,000, claimed the money back for 48 cakes last year.

He also claimed £211.85 for a leaving party for an unnamed member of staff attended by 15 people.

The BBC's head of television Danny Cohen and director of strategy James Purnell both registered tickets to a " one-day Executive Public Speaking Course" called " Own The Room" as gifts.

Purnell, a Cabinet minister in the last Labour government, also claimed £324 for "Attending the Labour Conference" and spent £275 registering for the C onservative Party conference .

Allen's claim for cupcakes was a gift for a programme production team, the BBC said.

There were further treats for staff from the controller of BBC Radio 3 Roger Wright who claimed £900 - equivalent to more than six licence fees - for a thank you lunch for the team of 36 people who had worked on the BBC Proms season.

Wright, who is director of the Proms and is paid a salary of £219,650, also claimed taxi fares which amounted to £924 on taxis in a 36-day period last summer. With his previously published quarterly expenses, it brings his total taxi claim for last year's Proms season to £1,386.

The newly released figures show the BBC's creative director Alan Yentob claimed £486.96 on taxis during the quarter.

The £168,300-a-year executive - who earns further income for his presenting duties - also claimed for a £1,502.53 return flight to New York in November and £644 for a four-night spell in the boutique hotel, Sixty LES. The BBC said he was there to meet producers and also for filming commitments.

The BBC's director of news James Harding - who is paid a salary of £340,000 - was reimbursed for flights to Delhi, Zurich and New York - which totalled £2,409.61.

The BBC's former HR director Lucy Adams claimed £321 for "dinner as part of HR director awayday".

Ms Adams, who left the corporation in March, was roundly criticised for overseeing the department while large payouts were controversially given to outgoing staff.

In another claim, the BBC's director of workplace and safety, Paul Greeves, claimed £475 for "thank you drinks" for 19 members of a "successful procurement team".

Taxi claims for senior BBC executives for the three-month period have risen by 21.4% in comparison with the previous quarter, to stand at £26,023.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We have strict rules on when taxis are allowed, for example when public transport does not serve the destination or late night travel is required, and we have cut our taxi spend by 33% since the same period in 2009/10."

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