BBC bosses were last night accused of racking up a £4million bill for hotels and first-class rail tickets for staff visiting its controversial new North of England base.

New figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests expose dramatic increases in the BBC’s spending since Salford opened in 2011.

The bill for first-class rail tickets between London and Manchester more than doubled from £71,000 in 2010/11 to £160,000 the year after the new centre opened. And spending on hotels in the area rocketed from £463,000 in 2008/09 to £1.8m in 2012/13.

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I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.