'Mood is grim over BBC's save yourself memo plan'

The BBC has said it is ‘too early’to comment on reports that all BBC staff could have to write a 200-word memo describing why they should keep their jobs following cutbacks.

The National Union of Journalists claimed it was informed of discussions at a BBC journalism board meeting that a possible solution to help the news division meet its share of the three per cent budget cuts at the BBC Trust would be for news staff to write 200 words on why they want to keep their jobs.

The BBC hasn’t confirmed or denied the claim, but a BBC spokeswoman said: ‘The BBC’s savings proposals are currently being considered by the BBC Trust. As a result it would be premature for any selection process to begin at this time.”

A source at BBC News told Press Gazette that although no one at the BBC had been told officially, they also hadn’t been told to ignore claims.

‘There are often emails saying ignore what you just read [in the media], but there wasn’t one after this so maybe it is true. People were pretty outraged and pretty disgusted by the whole idea.

Grim mood

‘It’s quite a grim mood for people here; they know there are going to be a lot of job losses. It’s bad enough anyway, without having been made to beg for your jobs with a 200-word essay.”

The source added that if a general election were to be called, any restructuring or redundancy plans would be put of hold.

‘They’re worried that if cuts are announced there may be a strike, which would ruin our election coverage.”

The BBC Trust wants the corporation to make three per cent cuts over each of the next five years to plug a £2bn funding gap, with an integrated news department asked to consider cuts of five per cent over the next five years, and Newsnight to slash its budget by four per cent.

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