BBC cutting around 450 jobs across England

The BBC has announced plans to cut around 450 jobs across England.

The broadcaster said that BBC England must save £25 million by the end of March 2022.

BBC England is the home of the corporation’s local radio stations and regional TV news, and according to the BBC will “undergo a significant reinvention”.

It comes after the BBC last month said it was axing more than 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Global Conference for Media Freedom
Outgoing BBC director-general Lord Tony Hall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Last month outgoing director-general Lord Tony Hall launched a programme of voluntary redundancy across the BBC.

The BBC already had an £800 million savings target before the coronavirus pandemic led to an additional £125 million deficit.

Helen Thomas, the director of BBC England, said: “I’m proud people have turned to us for trusted news and information in huge numbers during Covid-19, proving the importance of our local and regional services. But those services were created more than 50 years ago, have changed very little and need significant reinvention. That has meant taking some difficult decisions.

“We are in the age of the Facebook community group and the WhatsApp neighbourhood chat. We must adapt to better reflect how people live their lives, how they get their news and what content they want.

“We’re going to modernise our offer to audiences in England by making digital a central part of everything we do. We’ll take forward lessons from Covid-19 that will make us more agile and more in touch with communities while also ensuring we’re as efficient as we can be. I’m confident we can evolve our local and regional services while improving our impact and better serving our audiences.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “These are huge cuts which will inevitably have an impact on the BBC’s ability to sustain the breadth and depth of news coverage throughout England which truly reflects the diversity of the nation. We are consulting our members on how these plans will impact on the BBC’s output and the extent to which it will increase workloads on already-stretched newsrooms.

“The NUJ welcomes the BBC’s commitment to swiftly share vital data on equality impact and stress risk assessments. But we will be seeking greater clarity on how the additional 125 voluntary redundancies will be assessed, and looking for guarantees that a joined-up and robust redeployment process will be carried out. Any attempts to instigate compulsory redundancies will be robustly resisted by the NUJ.

“The financial challenges are clear – the solution requires public engagement and financial intervention from the Government to ensure the BBC’s survival as an institution prized and valued all over the world.

“The Covid-19 crisis has shown more than ever the need for an effective public service broadcaster and for trusted, quality journalism in an era of disinformation and fake news. We cannot allow the BBC to sleepwalk into a death by a thousand cuts, which will inevitably see people switch off because they aren’t getting the service they want.”

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