BBC set to cut 2,000 jobs by 2017


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

Related Stories

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."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    I look forward to a new daytime BBC2 without the rubbishy new programmes that have polluted it for years. Quality repeats, especially of archival material, would be most welcome, and unlike BBC4 there is no intrusive channel logo to spoil one's viewing.

    I particularly hope we can return to a regular morning and/or afternoon black & white film, perhaps from the RKO library the BBC already owns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    sorry the BBC tend to do sport best after all when was the last time you missed an only goal of a football match due to adverts on the BBC?
    But as for news no they have clear agendas that do not include unbiased factual reporting
    Too much spent on soaps too much pro tory bias in all political programs
    Bring back the old OU on a sunday morning on BBC2 not only informative but cheap to make too

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    sounds like some people like Jack would rather watch the old test card, i notice he picked out 3 programs which make "mega bucks" for the bbc in world wide syndication as being "tripe". its not that the bbc dont make good programs, they have just spread themselves out to thin trying to copy lots of other channels and filled the gaps with poor programs, what will replace F1 more eastenders repeats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    163 - Dave.
    you're an idiot! i dont have anything else to say about your comment apart from that really.
    i do think that overseas and ex-pats using the iplayer service should be charged if they are not already. the UK tax payer pays for the beeb so its not really fair when listeners and viewers overseas hear/watch it live for free

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    By cutting day time original programming even more jobs will be lost in the independent sector. Maybe the BBC should come clean about the impact to the whole indistry...

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    I feel for the future of BBC. How can they justify the increase in budget for Proms and then cut spending in F1? What does BBC4 actually offer? How does the bbc want to attract the younger generation to keep paying the license fee when the current investments are for OAPs? Very soon a politician will campaign against the license fee, the young will vote, & BBC will be broke. Its a real shame

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    Axe BBC3 please, it's totally superfluous. Then renegotiate contracts with staff and suppliers. Dont out source to production companies who make too much profit from licence fees. Employ innovators instead of 'stars' giving more people there first break on more modest budgets as expensive doesn't always equal good. There's so much indigenous tallent at the fringes! Strengthen BBC as an institution

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I feel sure any NUJ member and news and current affairs editors, presenters etc. made redundant will be welcomed at your sister newspaper organisation with the same liberal left take on world affairs.

    With the odd exception I'm sure nobody redundant from the BBC would be seen dead working for the Telegraph, Mail, Express, Sun etc.

    Cut BBC3 & 4, News 24, Radios 1, 5, 6 and "ethnic" stations

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    My local BBC radio station is really poor quality. Lots of inane garbage. I only listen for travel news, which is quite often way behind and inaccurate with reporting incidents. if this applies to all the local BBC radio stations - they could be closed down and hardly missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

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

    Yeah, right! So, by reducing BBC's workforce by 2,000 over the next 6 years, this will destroy the BBC?

    Pathetic. The union's / Socialist / whatever response to any reality is "why me/us"? Borrow/Tax/Spend MORE!

    The Ostrich will never enter the endangered species list

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    To many bosses - that's what happens with public funded organisations. A little bit of web searching will show the difference in numbers of people sent to cover major events, such as Olympics, wars, etc. SKY News number are tiny, BBC send dozens out and still often fail to get the story - look what happened in Libya recently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    How can cutting 2,000 jobs by 6 years from noiw be news. I must read on to be enlightened. Welcome to our real world BBC

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Let the public see the BBC accounts, surely there is nothing to hide?

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    You do realise programs like Dr Who make the BBC a profit don't you?
    Sorry the one thing the BBC are not even close to best on is news if you believed their recent coverage of Libya you would think NATO were never involved let alone still bombing cities, and that the most important news item of the day is a business man dying who over charged people

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    To: 168.Neil Smith

    I think you will find that the BBC probably aready does re-sell some of its programs. If you take a look at digital channels Dave and Yesterday you will see plenty of previously shown BBC programs but with the annoyance of adverts which you don't get on the main BBC channels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Might I suggest the BBC fully embrace the propaganda of neo-liberal 'economists' such as Evan Davis & Mark Easton? Yes, lets have lots of outsourcing of BBC production, editing and reporting, and what doesn't get outsourced lets insource onshore "talent". Let the redundancies begin, starting with Davis & Easton please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I'm astonished anyone would be against paying pp from general taxation. Everyone who watches regardless of whether it's SKY, freeview, ITV, online has to pay anyway. Elderly don't pay and skanks won't. Payment direct from UK PLC saves millions on "buy a tv license" advertising, wouldn't cost BBC millions to collect the fee, and tv retailers wouldn't have to fill in and send forms

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Count Otto Black: "I'd like to see the BBC concentrate on quality: quality dramas, quality comedies, quality documentaries etc. Leave the dumbed-down 'pap' such as soap operas, reality TV and the like to the commercial channels."

    So the BBC should focus on programmes that you want to watch, and ignore the rest of the population. Sometimes I despair of the selfishness!

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Perhaps the BBC ahould look at it's scheduling overall especially on Sunday evenings. If it is serious about saving money it should look at the so called comedy programmes and get rid of things like the comedy roadshow not one funny comedian on also get rid of shows that have no relevance these days such as Top Gear, Eastenders and such like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    To all those complaining about the BBC not having any content for you, what are you doing on this FREE news website? I've never understood the licence fee, but either we pay it upfront or it'll be hidden as part of regular taxes. It really makes no difference in the end. I don't like paying that bill either, but I'm personally happy to pay for good quality reporting and free web/radio/tv content.


Page 23 of 35


More Entertainment & Arts stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.