BBC to Ditch Its [Pounds Sterling]76m Online Education Service

Article excerpt

THE BBC is scrapping its new online education service after spending [pounds sterling]76million setting it up.

It was last night accused of wasting money following an announcement that it was axing the incomplete project after rivals told the European Commission it was anticompetitive.

The BBC Jam service, which will be killed off on Tuesday, is used by more than 170,000 children for help with reading, writing, foreign languages and teach young people business skills.

Bosses made the decision, which could affect 200 jobs, after talking to the EU and the Government.

Critics say the BBC caved in to EU pressure without defending itself because it was not told what the complaints were and who made them.

And the Tories accused the Government of encouraging the BBC to set up the service, despite similar services being provided by private firms.

Conservative MP David Davies said: 'All the members of the public forced to pay TV licences will be shocked at this dreadful waste of money.' Tory broadcasting spokesman Ed Vaizey claimed Government interference in launching the scheme would now cost the BBC [pounds sterling]150million. …