BBC managers in 'real panic' as director general expected to announce new cutbacks

A BBC source said there is “real panic” among BBC managers ahead of a speech from director general Tony Hall in which he is expected to announce more job cuts.

The National Union of Journalists is not currently aware of where the cuts will be targeted but expects to be briefed in advance of Hall's speech, set for 10.30am tomorrow.

The union's national broadcasting organiser Sue Harris told Press Gazette: “The NUJ has been saying for some time: ‘You keep cutting the Indians, it’s about time you cut some of the chiefs.’”

The Guardian reported this morning that the cuts are due to be announced after the BBC discovered that income for 2016/2017 is set to be £150m less than previously forecast. The Guardian reported a source as saying that the cuts would run into the hundreds and would involve a number of senior and middle managers.

The BBC has annual licence fee income of £3.7bn a year.

A well-placed BBC source told Press Gazette that managers are in a “real panic” over the speech and that other staff, unaware of who else is likely to be targeted, are “confused”.

Press Gazette understands that one new senior management position has already been cut. A a well-placed source told Press Gazette that the head of political programmes position, vacated by Sue Inglish yesterday, will not be replaced.

Meanwhile, the latest Delivering Quality First cuts to BBC News – announced last summer – are still being negotiated. The total job loss figure target stands at just under 400, short of the 415  target.

The BBC has yet to announce where 70 of these redundancies will come from. 

Richard Dawkins, chief financial and operating officer of BBC News, told staff in an email yesterday that almost 250 of the 400 targets job cuts have been "concluded", with consultation taking place on a further 60.

He also said that 50 people have been successfully redeployed and "the number of people in at risk pools has continued to drop and now stands at 110".

Dawkins said: "We will continue to do all we can to reduce the uncertainty from these changes and we will be putting forward detailed proposals for the remaining post closures, mostly for savings for 2016/17, as soon as these are finalised."

He added: "The financial pressures we face are very significant – all savings delayed or not achieved need to be found from elsewhere in BBC News Group's budget. So we will continue to work hard to implement our plans taking into account the concerns and issues raised and showing flexibility where we  can. But the challenge of delivering almost £50 million of savings remains acute so I'd like to thank you for your continued hard work and understanding."

The BBC has yet to respond to a request for a comment.

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