Licence fee payers fund entertaining at Wimbledon

The BBC is embroiled in a new spending row after using more than £20,000 of licence fee payers' money to pay for entertaining at the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Four members of the BBC Trust treated a group of "opinion formers and stakeholders" to tickets and hospitality at last July's ladies' singles final.

The Trust members – vice-chairman Chitra Bharucha, Dermot Gleeson, Jeremy Peat and David Liddiment – lavished £650 of public money on each of their 30 guests.

The BBC refused to name any of the guests but revealed the total bill for the day's hospitality came to £21,896.

The details – obtained by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act – provide a rare insight into the workings of the Trust, which took over from the Board of Governors in January 2007 promising to act "in the public interest" to ensure the BBC delivers "value for money".

Under BBC rules, the Trust is allowed to keep its accounts and expenditure confidential – despite the publicly-funded income it receives.

But seven weeks after this newspaper's request, the corporation agreed to disclose some financial information on public-interest grounds.

BBC under fire again for spending £20,000 of licence payers' money on Wimbledon junket (Daily Mail, 2 March 2008)