6 Oct 2011

BBC to cut 2,000 jobs by 2017

The BBC is to cut 2,000 jobs as part of a programme to save £700m. A further 1,000 jobs will be relocated to Salford over the next decade.

The corporation has published its Delivering Quality First programme, which included savings of £670m a year by 2016/17 on top of £30m of savings generated by exceeding targets for its current efficiency programme.

Director general Mark Thompson said the plan meant “stretching efficiencies and significant job losses”, adding: “It’s my judgment that this is the last time the BBC will be able to make this level of savings without a substantial loss of services or quality or both.”

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the technicians’ union Bectu, said the programme should have been called Destroying Quality First.
“They are destroying jobs, and destroying the BBC,” he said.

Mr Morrissey accused Mr Thompson of doing the Government’s “dirty work” by making such big cuts in spending and jobs, accusing the corporation of “salami slicing”.

The BBC said it will build on its current efficiency programme, which has already seen savings of more than £1bn since 2008/09, to release a further £400m of savings per year by 2016/17.

A series of meetings will be held at BBC offices across the UK when staff will be told how the cuts will affect them, while union leaders will meet senior management later.

Read more: BBC apologises for imposter MP and four-letter gaffes

No one service is to be axed, despite the fears of some of the fans of BBC Four. In a statement the BBC said it would be : “Re-focussing BBC Three and BBC Four to play supporting roles to the two bigger channels”.

BBC Three will be based in Salford from 2016.

Spending on sport will be cut by 15 per cent. Factual production in Birmingham is to cease and there will be a single newsgathering system for world and domestic news.

In an internal message sent to staff earlier this week, Mr Thompson said thousands of BBC staff had made comments and proposals over the past nine months.

He said: “You brought us new ideas, caused us to adapt or drop some of our own early ideas, and helped us shape the final set of proposals which we’ve been discussing with the BBC Trust in recent weeks.”

In the 2010 government spending review, the BBC licence fee was frozen at £145.50 until 2016-17.