Times to stem 'unsustainable losses' with up to 50 job cuts

The Times is set to cut up to 50 members of staff and reduce its editorial budget by around ten per cent to stem “unsustainable losses”.

James Harding, editor of The Times, told staff today that Times Newspapers Limited, the News International subsidiary which is home to The Times and The Sunday Times, was losing a “significant amount of money”.

Management had started a process to “cut costs, reduce our losses and free up resources for the future of our journalism”, Harding told staff in an internal memo seen by Press Gazette. “We are looking to reduce our editorial budget by approximately ten per cent”, he said.

Harding told staff The Times had opened a voluntary redundancy process which would run for two weeks but that the company could not rule out compulsory redundancies.

He added: “Until we know the exact number of people who will be leaving voluntarily we will not know what the number of compulsory redundancies might be.

“While a voluntary redundancy programme will slightly extend the period of uncertainty, I hope that in these difficult times it will create some opportunities for people who choose to leave our business.”

The ten per cent editorial cut at The Times is expected to be mirrored across its sister paper, the Sunday Times.

Press Gazette understands that Harding told staff at a lunchtime briefing that around 50 posts could go and that editorial cuts would be made across all News International titles, including the Sun and the New of The World.

Pre-tax losses for the Times and Sunday Times in the year to June 2009 increased to £87.7m from £50.2m the year before.

“Our losses are unsustainable. We cannot ensure the long-term future of this paper and our futures in journalism if we cannot make a viable business out of The Times,” Harding’s memo added.

“Second, we are clearly in a period of galloping technological change and we need to ensure that we have the resources to invest so that we can lead the market in digital journalism.”

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