BBC accused of abandoning the regions

The BBC is abandoning its obligation to provide regional services at a time when ITV is already doing the same, the NUJ has claimed.

The current round of cuts at the corporation, will see somewhere between 915 and 975 posts closing in the Nations & Regions.

Meic Birtwistle, who is National Executive Member of the NUJ for Wales, said: ‘Over a decade, at least, specifically in terms of the English language material, we’ve seen the BBC’s sister broadcasters reduce and reduce their services.

‘Therefore, the BBC shouldn’t be cutting – it should be taking up the slack. It should be gearing up to take up the responsibility that ITV has shed,’he said.

Exactly how the topline figures for the Nations & Regions will be broken down however, remains to confirmed by the BBC.

In Wales, there will be 220 to 235 post closures and 145 to 155 net redundancies after new posts are factored in.

At a meeting with staff to announce the cuts, Menna Richards, BBC Controller for Wales said she could not specify where cuts would go, nor rule out compulsory redundancies.

A similar picture has emerged in other parts of the UK. Press Gazette spoke to staff in a number of the regions, who said that they were still in the dark as to where cuts would fall.

About 100 BBC Northern Ireland jobs are to be axed as part of the broadcaster’s planned cost cuts. The BBC employs about 670 people in Ulster. It says that planned reinvestment in local programmes means the net job loss will be about 75.

The English region currently employs 2900 and expects to have 370 to 390 post closures, 130 to 150 net redundancies. In Scotland, there will be 225 to 240 post closures and 155 to 165 net redundancies.

ITV announced in June it would cut regional news budgets from £90m to as little as £40m and reduce the number of ITV’s regions from 17 to nine, which unions say will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The BBC has also axed plans for its ultra local TV news service but wants to develop local online news, spending £300m, with hundreds of new jobs promised, according to deputy director general Mark Byford.

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