By Jonathan Isaby
The BBC has been condemned for spending licence payers' money on "an outrageous piece of scaremongering" in the form of a programme which will see all council services withdrawn from one street in Preston as an experiment.
Nick Robinson will front the programme, The Street That Cut Everything, which has just attracted media attention after filming a stunt in which 20 dogs were brought in to foul the street, which would then have to be cleaned up by the residents, not the council.
A BBC spokesman explains the format:
"This programme will explore how a community faces up to the choices involved in living in an era of cuts, and examine the way in which people act as a group when confronted with limited resources and difficult decisions. The filming of the dog-walking scene demonstrates in exaggerated form one of the challenges residents would face if street-cleaning services were cut."
But Stephen Hammond, the Conservative MP and PPS to Eric Pickles, is unamused:
"This is an outrageous piece of scaremongering by the BBC and compromises their editorial integrity. We need a full and frank explanation from the organisation about how and why this is a good use of taxpayers' cash. I shall be reporting them to Ofcom for what quite frankly is a unforgivable breach of editorial standards."