Broadcaster ITV is set to announce wide-ranging cuts to its local news services that could see up to 200 staff made redundant, The Times reports.
Ofcom publishes the second stage of its public service broadcasting review which may give the green light to the cuts.
ITV has been in talks with Ofcom to make the cuts, which naturally will be met with strong opposition from unions. Broadcasting union general secretary Gerry Morrissey told The Times: “This is about ITV abandoning the last of its public service responsibilities.”
Regional output will drop significantly under the plan. According to The Times:
- ITV will abandon its separate 30min West Country and Border bulletins in favour of 15 minute programmes
- “Sub-regional” services will be introduced, which will run at around 6.05pm
- A new North of England/South of Scotland region will be created, a merger of Tyne-Tees in Gateshead and Border, based in Carlisle
A spokesman for ITV has been in touch to say that the cuts are part of its Turnaround strategy, that aims to save £40m from regional news. “We want to do this in a carefully managed and structured way to minimise the impact on viewers,” he said.