BBC spends half a million a year on taxis, freedom of information request reveals

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The BBC has come under fire for shelling out almost half a million pounds every year on taxis.

The corporation has released its annual spend on taxis under freedom of information laws, showing that over three years, they spent more than £1.3million of license fee-payers' money on cabs.

The BBS is understood to pay fares up to 45 miles away from work, the equivalent distance of London to Reading, and says it has strict rules governing taxi use - with them only being used when public transport is not available.

Figures revealed the Beeb spent £1.3million on taxis between April 2014 and April this year - equating to roughly £1,237 a day.

The figure may not reveal the true cost, however, as fares clocked up by those working in "journalism, art or literature" are exempted from disclosure.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Hard-pressed license fee payers will be furious that BBC staff are racking up such an extraordinary bill.

"The rest of the public sector is clamping down on unnecessary taxis and the corporation should be no different.

"The BBC has to start spending money more efficiently or sympathy for the outdated TV Tax will continue to wane."

In 2014/15 the BBC spent £512,861 on taxis, in 2015/16 this fell to £411,317 but increased to £431,095 in the last year.

A BBC insider, who asked not to be named, said: "I know it's ridiculous, and I feel for the people complaining, but I'm not going to moan.

"I do shifts that finish at midnight - without the free taxi it would cost me half my wages to get home.

"There are some that use the service to travel a couple of miles that they could easily walk - or get public transport - but I live 30 miles away from my office, so I do rely on it.

"It's one of the few benefits that I get for working there."

The million pound taxi bill revelation comes a month after the salaries of the broadcaster's top stars were published.

Chris Evans was the corporation's top earner last year on £2.25million, followed by Gary Lineker on £1.79million and Graham Norton on £899,999.

A BBC Spokesperson said: "The BBC has strict rules around taxi use which means they are only used for essential business when public transport isn't available as a result costs brought down over successive years.

"The majority of production related travel is to get guests and contributors to studios."

Last year it was revealed the bloated corporation, which costs fee payers £147 a year, spent more than £50,000 on cabs that were left waiting for clients with the meter running.

And around £23,000 was spent on 1,500 taxis that were never used.