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BBC shares review into tax and spend coverage

January 30, 2023

The BBC has shared its first ever thematic review as part of the Corporation’s 10-Point Impartiality Plan.

The review assesses whether due impartiality is being achieved across BBC taxation and public spending, government borrowing and debt output and considers if a breadth of voices and viewpoints are being reflected.

The BBC Board commissioned review finds that there is widespread appreciation for BBC coverage of tax, public spending, government borrowing and debt with plenty to applaud, but identifies a range of concerns that could put impartiality at risk. The Board has thanked the authors and responded in full.

The work was led by seasoned economics experts and broadcasters Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, who created BBC Radio 4’s More or Less programme.

The independent review spoke to over 100 people inside and outside the BBC and reviewed 11,000 pieces of relevant BBC online, TV and radio content, focussing closely on 1000. It considered social media posts and commissioned bespoke audience research.

The review does not find evidence of political bias in the BBC’s public spending and taxation output, but finds significant interests and perspectives in these areas could be better served. It goes on to provide clear indications for how the BBC could improve editorial standards and audience impact as a result.

The review notes that many of its conclusions could apply at least equally to other UK media. However, the BBC must lead the way on impartiality and ensure the needs of all audiences are met, so the Board has asked the BBC Executive to address the challenges raised as our public spending and taxation output evolves.

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