BBC News cuts risk hundreds of jobs
Monday, June 13 2011, 10:10 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,
BBC News is reportedly poised to make major cuts to its 8,000 employees in the UK and abroad, as part of plans to secure annual savings of £89 million to its budget.
Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, informed senior managers about the cuts last Friday, with most of the job losses likely to come in reporting staff. The cuts represent a 20% saving to the total BBC News Budget of £450m.
The exact number of journalists at risk has not yet been disclosed, but some estimates place the figure as high as 1,500. More details are expected to be revealed this week.
Under the BBC's new licence fee deal agreed last October, the previously separate BBC World Service will be integrated into BBC News from 2014.
Job losses are expected to affect regional and domestic news reporters, but international correspondents are likely to be most at risk due to the World Service integration.
However, a source told The Guardian: "It should be remembered these are just proposals. They have not yet been taken to the BBC Trust and anything could happen.
"There may not be a viable argument that, just because a World Service person is somewhere, they can automatically step into a BBC News role."
In a statement issued last week, a BBC News spokesman said: "We are not going to get drawn into a running commentary, no decisions have been taken and therefore these claims remain speculation.
"Any decisions coming out of the process would be subject to approval by the BBC Trust."
Other cost-saving proposals thought to be under consideration include the launch of a "slimmed-down" BBC News channel to trim the network's £46m-a-year budget.
The corporation is also thought to want to make the BBC Parliament channel "more cost-effective and accessible", as well as earn more revenue from selling BBC News output to overseas broadcasters.
In January, BBC World Service announced plans to cut up to 650 jobs as it comes to terms with a reduction to its Foreign Office grant, along with the impending funding switch to the BBC.