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 352.

    Do we really want:
    a) Enormously paid celebrities who do not justify the money they are paid
    b) journalists and cameramen flown out to stand in front of something saying "Nothing much to report here"
    c) layers of managers to handle the phony internal market and otherwise get in the way?

    I think not. I imagine a lot could be saved by stopping these excesses and getting people to work a full 5 days

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    Upon returning from overseas after 20 years, I looked forward watching the BBC and quality TV. A big miss while I was away. However, I found it was a disappointing experience. A multitude of 'show-off' graphics between programmes and numerous 'talking heads' on any news programme. Why do we need someone to be standing live outside a door, or house, related to the news article?

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    Maybe a few paycuts, and realistic wages would go a long way to helping with finances. Millions spent on new buildings that were not needed, old and behind the times soap operas and oh dear another series of strictly bloody boring TV, featuring Z list "celebrities" And I understand we are going to have a new talentless show? Maybe the program planners need cutting 1st.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    Julian's comment 177
    ..I don't believe anyone could not have afforded in increase in line with inflation.Compare what you get and what you pay to Sky subscription charges and the TV licence is the best value in home entertainment."

    People chose to pay for Sky and have to pay for the BBC by default.

    And "anyone" could afford?.

    Editors pick too, how suprising! Do you work for the BBC?

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    Drama on Radios 3/4 to be reduced but comedy on Radio 4 will not be affected. There is presently too much inane comedy, reduce that to the benefit of drama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    Don't cut invest in a product we should all be proud of, increase the fee look for savings but employ the best and we will have the best this does not come cheap. Or we could just cut every thing and make ourselves a second class country who have very little to be proud of except the ability to cut. Lets invest for the long term and be proud

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

    I fully support the license fee system and believe that an increase, in line with inflation would have been fair and reasonable. I trust that the BBC has learnt a lesson from the overpayment of people such as Jonathon Ross and will not allow such excesses again. I also believe that, with the exception of Strictly, reality shows should he left to those more in need of such dross.

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    @177. Julian

    The licence fee is an insult. Just because I have a TV set, they force me to pay for soap operas and reality shows.

    I am all for paying higher licence fees. But I don't want a single penny out of my pocket to fund this rubbish.

    Am I snob ? Yes !! Better a snob than an Eastenders fan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    In the words of Joni Mitchell, 'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...'

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    There are far too many channels churning out rubbish 24/7. We should go back to the good old days when on the wireless we had the Home Service, the Light Programme and the English language World Service. We also only need one TV channel transmitting from 17.00 to 23.00.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    The BBC has a great heritage, and still does some good stuff, but its current programming is, broadly speaking, not up to scratch. It seems that as the organisation has got bigger, it has lost focus.

    News is just a vehicle for the staff's prejudices and egos, and the BBC is outclassed on drama and comedy by its UK rivals.

    The announced changes sound like a good start...

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    Any coincidence that the BBC’s line on government cuts has changed from “cut more! Faster!!” to “maybe it’s time for plan B?” just as they themselves reap the harvest of their own words?

    This is great news for those of us left in the public sector. The BBC will now pressure politicians to reduce cuts rather than increase them as they have in the past.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    The BBC and its fee needs chopping in half.

    Many BBC functions can be carried out more efficiently in the private sector.

    Copycat cheap TV programming now infests main BBC channels and only low ratings channels like BBC 4, Radio 4 and Radio Extra have unique content eschewed by commercial ventures.

    Scrap BBC's 'popular’ remit and reserve the fees for programmes that commercial TV won’t do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    The BBC is a world class service, but it tries too hard. we need a strong BBC 1,2, and a world service that is trusted, equally few country wide radio services to be free, paided for by the licence fee. But has for the rest why not allow advertising to come in on BBC 3 and 4 etc to help out with the funding. they can show the old BBC 1 and make new programmes on their own funding. just a thought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    A sizeable proportion of viewers enjoy watching cookery shows, house purchase/repair shows, period dramas and serial dramas. I don't. I do, however, enjoy documentaries, reasonable (NOT An Idiot Abroad) travel shows and "intelligent" quiz shows and comedies. So I find BBC2/3/4 much more value for money than BBC1. Having said that, Sky's specialist channels are better still.

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    Do the BBC really need to pay newsreaders 6 figure salaries? There must be a lot of people willing and able to do these jobs, so paying for talent can't be the explanation. When they also have "extra curricular" activities that bring in more money and they need to set themselves up as companies to avoid tax, then something is badly amiss.

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    I think the BBC does enrich many peoples lives, however what is little mentioned is the commercial side of the business whether it be DVD Box Sets, books or foreign show format licencing which is now massive in its own right and there are many family members of middle and senior BBC management running their own 'production companies' with BBC contracts. Its an epidemic and its fraud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    you do not need to pay just because you have a TV.
    You have to pay if you watch or record television programs as they are being broadcast NOT if you use it for playing games or watching DVD's etc.
    BTW that includes computer's laptops handhelds etc not just tv's
    Hope that clears up the misinformation you have been living under

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    Some of us use the BBC because we've already paid for it and we want some use out of it. I would not come here if the TV Tax was scraped.

    The majority of people posting here are critical of the BBC. It hasn't been world broadcasting leader in over a decade. It's mundane and boring. Full of its own self worth. Pandering to ‘luvies’, insider friends and other people in their media circles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    @329.EarlyBaby Boomer - S4C is nothing to do with the BBC. It's the Welsh equivalent of Channel 4 and is owned by the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority.


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