Broadcasting union urges ITV rethink

The broadcasting union, Bectu, has renewed its calls for ITV to abandon plans to scale back its news coverage in the Border TV region – pointing to strong evidence that the move is set to be rejected by the regulator

In an open letter to the director of ITV Regions, Michael Jermey, Bectu urged ITV to discuss ways of safeguarding the existing news coverage of the Border region, instead of resorting to cuts.

‘It is surely right now for you to meet the local management and unions again to discuss ways to deliver a full service more cost effectively,’the letter said.

‘There is an opportunity here to embrace new technology and reconsider the operation as a whole, with the constructive aim of all of us to deliver a high-quality local news service from the Border region.”

ITV first announced plans to merge its 17 news regions into nine larger patches last September, including the merger of the Border TV and Tyne Tees region.

It planned to replace the existing half-hour Border TV news programme, Lookaround, with a six-10 minute slot in the merged bulletin.

ITV has revealed a strategy to cut costs by an extra £35m a year by 2010, in its interim results for the first six months of the year.

It revealed a year-on-year fall of 28 per cent in pre-tax profits to £91m and a three per cent increase in revenues to £1.03bn in the first six months of the year.

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