BBC set to cut 2,000 jobs by 2017


Director general Mark Thompson gave the details to the BBC's media correspondent, Torin Douglas

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The BBC is planning to cut 2,000 jobs and radically change programming in order to cut 20% from its budget over the next five years.

No channels will close. Some money will be reinvested in new programmes.

All new daytime programming will shift to BBC One, with BBC Two broadcasting news and repeats of peak-time shows.

Technicians' union Bectu accused the corporation's director general Mark Thompson of "destroying jobs and destroying the BBC".

Thompson unveiled details of the cuts - branded Delivering Quality First (DQF) - in an address to staff on Thursday morning.

Thompson said the changes would lead to "a smaller, radically reshaped BBC".

As well as the loss of 2,000 posts across the BBC over the next five years, another 1,000 staff will relocate from London to Salford. BBC Three will move to Salford in 2016.


The BBC says this will be the most far-reaching transformation in its history, changing how - and where - it operates.

Most of the savings are due to come from finding cheaper ways of working, through new technology, job cuts and new terms and conditions for BBC staff.

But with no TV channel or radio station facing closure, few expect licence-fee payers to be marching on Broadcasting House.

BBC One, which is having its overall budget cut by 3%, will see a reduction in entertainment programmes "which have a lower impact", Thompson said.

There will be fewer chat shows and panel shows on BBC Two, and digital channels BBC Three and Four will become feeder channels for BBC One and Two respectively.

Other key points include:

  • Small reduction of 3% in BBC One's budget but money to be reinvested on comedy and drama.
  • Extra investment in children's channels to be protected.
  • More funding for factual programming on BBC One and BBC Four.
  • BBC Two's daytime schedule to feature international news and current affairs at lunchtime, with repeats of mainly factual programmes at other times.
  • Radio 4's underlying programme budget to be unaffected.
  • More money to "protect and improve" quality of Proms coverage.
  • The BBC HD channel will close and be replaced with a single version of BBC Two in high definition.
  • Red button services will also be reduced after the Olympics.

Content sharing

The BBC's David Sillito spoke to media commentator Steve Hewlett and Gerry Morrissey from Bectu

There will be a 15% reduction in the BBC's sports rights budget. This includes the decision earlier this year to share the rights for Formula One with BSkyB.

The BBC said that the decision to share F1 rights saved more cash than would have been saved by shutting one of its smaller TV channels.

In local radio, there will be more sharing of content across regions.

Original programming across the BBC's main networks will be reduced, such as comedy on Radio 2 and Radio 5 live, as well as fewer lunchtime concerts on Radio 3.

Radio drama will be reduced on Radios 3 and 4. Radio 4's comedy output is unaffected.

Separate news bulletins will end on Radio 1Xtra (outside breakfast) which will take Radio 1's news output. Radio 3 will use shorter versions of Radio 4 bulletins.

Where the savings will come from

How the BBC proposes to make savings

* Remaining funds will be met from current efficiency savings

There will be reductions in medium-wave transmissions for local radio in England where coverage replicates FM. There will also be no reinvestment in long wave, which will lead to the end of Radio 4 on LW in the long term.

The BBC News Channel will focus on breaking news, with less coverage of arts, culture and science. Material from the nations and English regions will be repeated during times of lower demand.

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, said there would be up to 800 post closures in news. That would be offset by the creation of new posts, meaning a total reduction in staff of between 550 and 650.

There are no major changes proposed for CBBC and CBeebies. After digital switchover, children's programmes will be removed from BBC One's afternoon schedule and BBC Two's morning slots.

Unions reacted angrily to news of the job cuts. Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the technicians' union Bectu, said the BBC's proposals should have been called "destroying quality first".

The National Union of Journalists added "the BBC will not be the same organisation if these cuts go ahead".

Thompson said he hoped a proportion of staff facing job losses could be "retrained and redeployed".


The proposals are the result of a nine-month staff consultation.

In January, Thompson said the BBC faced the challenge of finding 20% savings over the four years to April 2017.

This figure incorporates the 16% drop in revenue from the licence fee, and an attempt to claw back 4% of current expenditure to re-invest in new content and digital developments.

How the licence fee is spent

How the licence fee was spent in 2010-11

Speaking ahead of Thompson, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten explained how the trust will consult licence fee payers on the plans. The public will have until the end of the year to respond.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We welcome that the BBC is thinking hard about what it does and where it should focus in future.

"We are committed to an independent, strong and successful BBC that is the cornerstone of British broadcasting

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

That licence agreement brought with it new financial obligations, including the World Service, which is currently funded by the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

This funding comes to an end in April 2014 as the BBC World Service transfers to television licence fee funding.

Thompson concluded his address on Thursday warning that the BBC could not sustain a further reduction in licence fee funding, after a decade of cuts.

"I don't think we could do this again," he told staff.

"Another real terms cut in the licence fee would lead to a loss of services, or potentially a diminution of quality, or both."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    Amazing how many BBC haters came to the BBC News website to read this story and comment on it. I thought you all "didn't use the BBC"?!

    This is butchery of our national broadcaster. The long term weakening of the BBC will be bad for the UK. It seems though that the implementation of the cuts isn't as bad as it could be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Two people to read the half an hour news is more than needed, one should be able to do this. Then why do you need another to reads the same video printer with the sports news, and another to read the weather?

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    Can we drop the pretence that the BBC don't advertise.....just because the endless plugs are for their own services doesn't make them the 'informative interludes' they would no doubt claim..they are adverts, and endless trailers for Eastenders are every bit as annoying as ones for washing powder!

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    182. ravenmorpheus2k

    You have no understanding of business it is NOT about what you seem to think it is SKY legitimately outbid all other competitors for the other sports but in F1's case the bid was a closed deal while in control of the BBC by law they should have opened it up to fair competition but they did not and by doing so blocked ITV/C4 & C5 from bidding.

    has it sunk in yet?

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Tell you what bbc why don't i just give you the formulers for the next 4 years programs.

    you need middle aged actors who have seen friends and a script writer

    remake american ones and run at a quarter speed

    A pc CNN with a british voice over

    And the other 80% of programming made up of cookery programs, eastenders and free dance lessons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Sorry, but I would much prefer that the BBC add two thousand jobs. Your standard of journalism is much preferable to everything else (except DW) on the airs. Please add jobs. The World Sanity Index (WSI) will drop like a stone with a strong BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    The money wasted on (Scalectric) Formula 1, Match Of The Day paying "Walkers' Crisps" Lineker mega bucks and churning out tripe like Dr Who, Merlin, So You Think You Can Dance and many others, could be put to better use or saved altogether. BBC are the best at News, Documentary, Classical and Period Drama, the Proms in the Summer could be cut back. Spend the money wisely on quality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    My licence fee now gives me about 2 programmes a week worth watching, almost always on BBC4. If it's now to be a feeder channel to BBC2, it will go the same way that once-excellent channel went. Even news programmes (TV, radio and website) are increasingly full of facetiousness and celebrity drivel. These cuts go nowhere near far enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    "BBC set to cut 2,000 jobs by 2017"

    If one of them is Richard Hammond, I'll be more than happy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    There is a lot of rubbish that the BBC (regrettably) produce , but there's a lot of good quality programmes it also produces as well. Cut down of the rubbish programmes and make more decent programmes instead. E.g. Underage and pregnant - out, Merlin - in , Young, dumb and living off mum - out. Tulisa: my mum and me - in. I'd rather seen licence fees go towards decent programmes, not rubbish ones.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    All morning I have heard that no services will be cut. However:-
    1) BBC 2 will be HD only ("single version of BBC Two in high definition").
    2) Local radio will cease on MW where FM is available.
    This means I will not have access to either BBC2 or BBC local radio.
    Sounds like service cuts to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    There is no need to cut jobs just limit all wages to £100k per year. That's plenty for the likes of Johnathon Ross etc.
    The same needs to be done for footballers and local Council workers.
    The people with the least skills are paid the most while the top skills like Engineers, Nurses and our Forces Personal are paid a pittance !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    I for one think the BBC is a great instituion. Fair enough a few stars get too much money and I am pleased this is being addressed but some of them also work awful hours to broadcast live. I think the TV licence on the whole is great value for the amount of time I access the services, web, radio and tv. The information is usually top quality and educational.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    It's shocking that despite these cuts, the BBC still waste money on projects like relocating to Salford and repairing structural damage caused by Russell Grant on Strictly Come Dancing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    @189.this_comment_was_banned - then you better pray they find jobs in the private sector of the media industry.

    Otherwise those "2000 raving Liberals" will be taking your taxes as benefit payments.


    "191. TechieJim - A cull is essential but should start at the top."

    Well said. Sadly we all know the top won't even be touched.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    171. sugar_ray_clay_jones_junior_3

    I agree with what you are saying but if F1 shows in the Top 10 every fortnight only being beaten by news/eastenders x 3 and dr who does it not show the the BBC should be cutting other programs that are not attracting viewers and replacing them with as you say others sport maybe that increases the viewing figures?

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    "Another real terms cut in the licence fee would lead to a loss of services, or potentially a diminution of quality, or both."

    It would be impossible to deminish the quality of BBC News any further, as it has already reduced itself to the British equivalent of CNN.

    As for the loss of services, the BBC's budget is in the region of £3.5 BILLION - so I say get the axe out and start chopping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    86. sugar_ray_clay_jones_junior_3
    'simple cost saving.... blah, blah, blah'


    And what is your experience of running a major corporation? or a Broadcasting Corporation?

    You do your job, let the BBC do there's!

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    The cuts should start with the director general's £ 850,000 salary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    In addition to my previous comment - I also believe that the BBC attracts high quality performers and creates some of the best period dramas and family programming out there.

    Just look at the amount of 'big screen' actors that will turn out for a BBC production when they wouldn't look twice at any other broadcaster's programmes.

    Can ITV even compete? Or even Sky for that matter?


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