BBC to lose 10 per cent of workforce

The BBC confirmed today that it will shed 10 per cent of its workforce over the next six years under director general Mark Thompson’s plans for reform.

A total of 1,800 redundancies are planned within the next six years. An estimated 2,500 posts will go, with news and factual most affected. The BBC said that the gap between post closures and net redundancies will be met by new jobs.

In a media briefing ahead of a meeting with staff this morning, Thompson said the cuts would mean a smaller BBC but that there would not be ‘one size fits all’nor ‘salami slicing”.

Thompson said: ‘It will be a smaller workforce but we will work extremely hard to keep as much of the talent as possible.”

He said there would be no new networks or channels and no new local radio stations in the pipeline. Television Centre is to be sold by 2012/13.

Constrained funding and new pressure on resources from digital migration and digital infrastructure had necessitated the cuts, said Thompson, who reiterated that he had no intention to close digital channels, as advocated by senior news staff such as John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman.

‘No-one anywhere in the world is anyone shutting down networks,” Thompson said, adding that it was now about “maximising shelf space”.

There will be 10 per cent less original programming by 2012/13, Thompson confirmed. Lower impact programming will be cut to focus on fewer, higher quality programmes. Thompson said: ‘We will make less but to a higher standard.”

Factual programming will undergo ‘radical reform”. The journalism group – including news, nations and regions, global news and sport – aims to tackle duplication by bringing services together in a multi media newsroom initiative.

New investment of £1.5bn has been cancelled – which includes plans for new local radio stations in Bradford, Cheshire, Somerset and Dorset.

Budget cuts at BBC3 of £10million and new teen service BBC Switch has also been announced.

Job cuts in full:

  • BBC News & Current Affairs: currently employs 3000 staff, 475 – 490 post closures, 355 – 370 net redundancies
  • BBC Vision: Currently employs 3,400, 700 – 725 post closures, 420 from factual, 640 – 660 net redundancies, 390 from factual.
  • BBC Sport: Currently employs 440 staff, 30 – 35 post closures, 20 net redundancies
  • English Regions: currently employs 2900, 370-390 post closures, 130-150 net redundancies
  • Nations: Scotland: 225 – 240 post closures, 155- 165 net redundancies
  • Northern Ireland: Currently employs 670, 100- 110 post closures, 75 – 85 net redundancies
  • Wales: 220 – 235 post closures, 145- 155 net redundancies
  • Audio & Music: Currently employs 1600, 85 – 95 post closures, 65 – 75 net redundancies.
  • Future Media & Technology: Currently employs 1270, 170 – 180 post closures, 120 – 130 net redundancies.

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