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 232.

    From what I've seen the majority of daytime TV is rubbish anyway so I'm happy for them to cut it. The people watching during the day are retired, unemployed or students. Students could cope (they should be studying), unemployed should be applying for jobs. It's only the elderly this would affect. I'm sure there are plenty of quality repeats that would be better than the current offerings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    One of the 1st things they can do is to get rid of the dreadful fashion for more than one presenter on radio shows. I assume its supposedly to bring some lively banter to the proceedings - its rubbish! On our local radio (Shropshire) the "one man" shows are head and shoulders above the other offerings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Shock! Horror! Public sector institution has to live within its means!
    Shurely shome mishtake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    @220.Peter Johnston - a better solution would be a per program fee.

    Then we would see people voting with their wallets as to what they want to watch, not paying for what the BBC believes people want to watch.

    And it would have the added benefit of those who watch the most, paying the most, and not being subsidised by everyone else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Its funny isn't it.

    There is a hardcore in here who will blog on any subject as if they know what they are talking about, and they appear everyday.

    They complain bitterly about any cuts the Tories suggest.

    However, when the very organisation, the BBC, that facilitates them spouting off every lunchtime while they eat their soy & muesli sandwiches, faces cuts, cuts are all of a sudden good!

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    @121.Odds On
    Quite agree, coverage of anything but 'the arts' on BBC TV and Radio is terrible. Even sports coverage is at best poor. Stop paying 'stars' massive salaries and concentrate on giving informational interesting programs. TBH even though I find top gear amusing the amount of money squandered on it and the salaries to its 'stars' is far in excess of anything required for such nonsense

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    'Less money to be spent on original drama'. Surely selling these dramas is where the beeb makes a fair proportion of her revenue?

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    BBC is amazing value for money, I'd gladly pay twice as much. Look how much Sky costs; much more AND they have advertising as well! One thing BBC could cut is too much commentary on sports -- show more of the sport & less of 'experts' talking about it. That'll save loads on olympics coverage! But please keep some of the better daytime programmes like Daily Politics, they're informative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    You dont have to pay to own a TV anymore.
    However you do have to pay your TV licence if YOU watch or record LIVE TV.
    Note if you use a TV to watch DVD's or videos or play games or even to watch online programs as long as it is not broadcast at the same time no licence needed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    I work in the broadcast industry and have to agree with a lot of comments on here. The Beeb like lots of other public sector areas is bloated with middle management and inefficiency. Simply why not cut sport all together. There is very little on now and with F1 shifting half its coverage there will be even less. It'll stop Gary Lineker been paid a fortune to host the smugness that is M.O.T.D

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    It is somewhat incestuous for the Manchester Boradcasting Corporation to make news out of its own cost cutting when most of the nation are having to tighten their own belts and make cuts. My presonal view would be to allow corporate sponsorship as in the US PBS model to achieve a private public funding mix still commercial free.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Cut wages at the top not jobs! We need the BBC now more than ever. Its time the corporation started working more commercially around the world selling their products and services outside Britain. More cultural programming and less shoddy 24 hour news. The BBC should be keeping our creative workforce in employment so they dont move abroad. More Drama, Music, Art and Science on the Beeb.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    The licence fee should be changed to £10/month for TV, £5 for radio and made optional. That will make people think about what they really want to watch.

    Most people in the UK would wish to pay the money, without feeling coerced to do so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    "BBC Three will move Salford in 2016."

    How much money does the BBC save by not proof reading articles?

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    Reduce the regional content, the uk is simply not large enough to warrant so many people rehashing national news into a regional report. How many weather presenters do you need? The national forcast is more then adequate. The same principal applies to regional radio, have you ever listened to any of it, it is dross.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    heres a clue BBC just stop showing 50 repeats of repeats of repeats a day with all the fees they entail.
    Dont you realise people have PVR's or internet and Iplayer for repeats.
    Ok repeat it once but not time after time after time

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    @209.ShaGGy_UK - seriously buddy I wish that the F1 hadn't gone to Sky, as I will no longer be watching 50% of the F1 races, not legally at least.

    However, like the majority of things that affect the public, I have seen over the last 30 years, nothing we do will change it.

    Give it a rest and stop trying to insult me by claiming I have no understanding of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Lets hope that the first department to go is the one responsible for all those silly speeded up clips on television. It seems to me that they are used not for any good reason, but simply because they have the ability to do it. For example, I don't think I have ever seen a news item on the Olympic Stadium, without a speeded up clip of the construction in progress. Totally unnecessary and annoying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    I think that it's interesting that so many people commenting clearly have no idea what the BBC's mission actually is - and that's perhaps an indication of how far they have moved from their public service remit!
    BBC executives are public servants - their pay should not be related to private sector. If they want more - move. The same applies to 'talent' - leave obscene salaries to the other side!

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    @209.ShaGGy_UK - And how do you know I have no understanding of business?

    Sky may well legitimately outbid for programmes, but by doing so they maintain a monopoly, because they can outbid, quite substantially.

    Has that sunk in yet?

    Yes the BBC/Sky deal was a closed deal, but what makes you think the BBC/Sky legal teams aren't aware of this and haven't already covered their backsides?


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