The BBC has announced that it is planning to make 450 people redundant across its workforce in the English regions as part of its latest round of cost-cutting.
The BBC needs to save £925M ($1.2B) by March 2022 as it grapples with the financial constraints of a license fee deal it struck in 2015 and a drop in income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 450 redundancies are part of BBC England’s £25M contribution to this overall target and represent 15% of its 3,000-strong workforce. Employees were informed on Thursday morning and will impact those working in TV, radio and online.
As part of the changes, regional affairs show Inside Out has been axed in favor of a weekly investigative journalism program, resulting in 29 redundancies. It follows the likes of Steven Knight, Ken Loach and Vicky McClure lobbying against changes to Inside Out. The BBC also plans to have just one presenter on regional news bulletins.
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The BBC England job cuts are in addition to 150 redundancies announced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland last week, as well as the 450 redundancies being made in its news division. Some job cuts will be made as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme the BBC opened up last month.
BBC England director Helen Thomas said the changes are part of modernizing the corporation’s local services. “We’ll take forward lessons from COVID-19 that will make us more agile and more in touch with communities while also ensuring we’re as efficient as we can be. I’m confident we can evolve our local and regional services while improving our impact and better serving our audiences,” she said.
The National Union Of Journalists’ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “These are huge cuts which will inevitably have an impact on the BBC’s ability to sustain the breadth and depth of news coverage throughout England which truly reflects the diversity of the nation. We are consulting our members on how these plans will impact on the BBC’s output and the extent to which it will increase workloads on already-stretched newsrooms.”
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