Cutbacks at Welsh Big Issue as production moves to Scotland

The Welsh edition of The Big Issue is proposing to make two out of its three editorial staff redundant and moving production to its Scottish office.

The weekly magazine, which is sold by homeless vendors, is currently in a consultation process as part of plans to save costs by axing the Welsh edition’s editor and designer but to keep the staff writer in order to retain some regional authenticity.

The Big Issue Cymru offices would not close and advertising and distribution departments would remain. The editor of The Big Issue Scotland would become the editor of both titles, under the plan.

Lara McCullagh, marketing and communications manager for The Big Issue, said: ‘There is the capacity within Scotland to take on production of certain elements of the Welsh magazine – but not in its entirety.

“It’s absolutely crucial from our point of view and makes good business sense that we retain a Welsh flavour to the magazine and it remains relevant to it’s audience, hence the decision to make sure there’s a member of editorial based in Wales who can write in the Welsh language.”

The Big Issue currently has five editions in London, Wales, Scotland, the South West and the North, which is run as a separate limited company in Leeds and Manchester.

The magazines share content ‘where appropriate’such as lead features, but the news and entertainment coverage is specific to the region.

McCullagh said that from the readers’ point of view the proposed changes would not make the title ‘dramatically different”.

The Big Issue Cymru saw a circulation decrease of 11.6 per cent year on year from 9,561 to 8,451. Circulation for the group dropped 15.2 per cent from 158,581 to 134,456.

Big Issue recently announced plans to launch The Big Issue India. The magazine’s founder, John Bird, has established partnerships with the universities of Mumbai and Poona and The Times of India. The launch would be a joint venture and does not involve any financial investment from Big Issue Ltd.

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