There has been a new development in a long-running spat between a website and the BBC over the corporation’s news coverage of George Osborne’s buy to let tax changes.
Property118, a website that backs the campaign to seek a judicial review of George Osborne’s changes to landlords’ mortgage interest tax relief, contacted the BBC back in March to complain about a report by business correspondent Joe Lynam at the end of February.
The corporation defended the piece, saying: “We have been careful to fully and fairly explain all sides of the debate, including the Government’s aim to assist first time buyers, landlords’ fears as a result of the changes coming into force, the views of existing rental tenants and potential first time buyers.
“Joe Lynam referred to some research which had been undertaken by the Council of Mortgage Lenders / Property Partner which was relevant to the issue being reported. In crediting their research to them, we did not promote or endorse these organisations or their views.
“The above all being the case, whilst we appreciate that you may have strong views on the legislation changes as they may affect you personally, we stand by our reporting of this issue as being both fair and balanced.”However, the website has since accused the BBC of repeating “anti-landlord propoganda and Treasury misinformation” and of an interview in the piece being “hi-jacked” by an organisation which provided a “docile landlord” who did not oppose the legislation.
The website and its supporters have contacted the BBC again, and the corporation has written a further response including the phrase: “We are sorry to tell you that we have nothing to add to our previous reply.”The website is now describing the reply as “arrogant” and is urging its backers to use a BBC appeal process to escalate the issue to the corporation’s ruling body, the BBC Trust.