BBC tells staff it will have to make £125 million savings this year

The BBC has told its staff that the corporation will have to make savings of £125 million this year after coronavirus affected its income “in a number of ways”.

In an email to employees, the BBC’s managing director Bob Shennan said the corporation is looking at cutting spending on “capital projects, overheads and technology”, as well as a number of other measures.

He said: “We’re getting less money from the licence fee, while our commercial operations are bringing in less revenue too.

BBC Stock
(Ian West/PA)

“We are doing everything we can to protect our income, but we need to look at our spending too.

“We’re already reviewing a range of expenditure including capital projects, overheads and technology.”

He also told BBC employees in an email seen by the PA news agency that annual pay negotiations with unions will be postponed for six months and recruitment for “all but service-critical roles” will be paused.

Mr Shennan added that there would also be a pay freeze for “senior leaders” at the corporation until August 2021, and the BBC will be “delaying and reviewing bonuses in commercial subsidiaries” for at least six months.

Workers will also be able to volunteer to work part-time or take a period of unpaid leave.

“These are measures that are certainly not easy – especially at a time when there’s uncertainty all around us,” Mr Shennan said.

“But they do need to be taken if we are to continue to operate and keep on delivering for our audiences.”

A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “The BBC, like many businesses, is facing financial challenges and a drop in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are taking sensible measures to reduce our costs and focus all our spending on our programmes for our audiences.”

Last month, the BBC announced that it was postponing the end of the free TV licence for all over-75s because of the coronavirus outbreak.

BBC Stock
(Ian West/PA)

The universal benefit was due to end on June 1, when it will be restricted to those who claim pension credit, but that has now been pushed back until August 1.

In January, the BBC announced cuts to Newsnight, 5Live and other news output – leading to around 450 job losses and savings of £80 million.

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