BBC prepares to make 'significant reduction' to budgets

BBC director general Mark Thompson has outlined plans to make £400m of “painful cuts and reductions” to the corporation’s budget.

The cuts to balance the books would range from freezing senior management pay to rethinking the amount paid to the corporation’s top talent.

In a speech to the Changing Media Summit in London, Thompson said the idea that the BBC was swimming with cash was out of step with current times.

“The collapse of the commercial property market and pressure on our commercial revenues mean that without further significant reduction in our spending plans we would exceed our statutory borrowing limit within two years,” he said.

“So we will be proposing a budget which includes a further £400m of painful cuts and reductions in expenditure.”

He said the BBC did not face the same scale of financial challenge as some of its commercial colleagues, “but the picture of a BBC swimming with cash and people and able to make additional savings at the drop of a hat is simply out of date”.

Thompson said the BBC would protect jobs as far as possible – but he stressed that the corporation was not immune to redundancies.

Over the past four-and-a-half years, 7,200 jobs have been cut at the corporation, with another 1,200 still to go.

The Government is currently looking into the future of public service broadcasting as part of its forthcoming Digital Britain report.

The BBC has already announced various ways in which it is looking to partner up with other broadcasters, including sharing facilities.

“We need to cast the partnership net a lot wider than the broadcasting sector,” he added.

“We are talking to the Press Association and to several newspaper groups about whether there are content partnerships which could be useful in adding value to the newspaper sector and their ambitions in digital media.”

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