BBC chief claims £2,500 for taxis

One of the BBC's most highly paid executives accounted for more than a tenth of all the taxi expenses claimed by almost 100 senior figures in a quarter, new figures have shown.

Chief operating officer Caroline Thomson - who was in the running to be the new director-general - put in claims totalling in excess of £2,500 for the three-month period.

Ms Thomson, who receives a total remuneration package of £328,000, also claimed back a £2 cash machine charge from a US visit, according to her latest expenses claims which have just been published.

Her taxi spend for the period came to £2,551.59, averaging at just over £25.50 each time she took a cab. Ms Thomson's spend adds up to the cost of 17 licence fees.

The entire spend for 97 executives over the three months is £24,770, down 11% on the previous quarter.

Ms Thomson's taxi bill has actually gone up by more than 100% during the same period. For the previous quarter she claimed £1,194.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Caroline Thomson is responsible for the operations division which is based across a number of different locations around the UK, so her role involves a considerable amount of travel."

The BBC's creative director, Alan Yentob, claimed £1,216.05 for taxis for the period, quarter four of the last financial year. He also claimed a total of £722.81 for discussions about "projects" and "BBC films".

Expenses and "central bookings" are down 4% on the previous quarter and down 11% since it started publishing the figures in 2009, said the BBC.

"Expenses have fallen 4% this quarter and remain within a range proportionate to running a media organisation of this size. We continue to be mindful of how we spend public money and to drive down costs wherever possible," said the BBC.