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Luulenpa, ettÃ tÃmÃ vaikuttaa aika lailla BBC:n jÃljellÃ oleviin
BBC makes Â320m cuts
Owen Gibson and Matt Wells
Tuesday December 7, 2004
The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, will today unveil a radical
blueprint for the future of the corporation, making savage cuts designed
to save Â320m and safeguard the licence fee in the digital age.
The Guardian has learned that Mr Thompson will announce plans to cut the
BBC's army of support staff in half, and will promise to move its
children's channels, sports department and Radio 5 Live to Manchester.
Non-programme-makers will be hardest hit, with 2,500 redundancies across
finance, human resources, policy, legal, strategy, marketing, PR and
related back-office functions. Over the next three years, up to 6,000
jobs could go.
Mr Thompson will this morning tell staff that the BBC is entering a new
phase, during which it must cut in-house costs by around Â320m and be
more collaborative in its dealings with independent producers and
Last night he told a "subdued" meeting of 300 senior managers that the
swingeing cuts were vital if the corporation is to secure a favourable
licence fee settlement in 2006, when its royal charter is up for
renewal. During the meeting, he told executives that Â150m worth of cuts
had already been identified to bring the BBC's overdraft down to zero.
But he argued that further savings would have to be made in the next
three years if the BBC was to prove to the government that it deserved a
10-year deal to guarantee annual above-inflation rises in the licence
Programming departments will not be immune from the cuts, with budget
reductions averaging 15% across the board.
BBC Factual and Learning, the department responsible for hits such as
the Blue Planet and Walking With Dinosaurs, will be among the hardest
hit, with 400 job losses. News and current affairs will also be forced
to make cuts, but not until March.
Today, Mr Thompson will also unveil a new programme strategy for the
BBC, promising to abandon makeover and reality shows in favour of news,
comedy, family entertainment and drama.
Mr Thompson, who instigated a series of internal reviews on his
appointment in May, will promise to redirect hundreds of millions of
pounds to boost key current affairs programmes such as Newsnight and
He is expected to announce plans to sell some of the corporation's
commercial interests, and will demand that its commercial division
doubles its profits to Â200m.
Staff face an agonising wait over Christmas and many, including senior
managers, will find it hard to accept such cuts are necessary. There is
a school of thought that Mr Thompson is going too far in his efforts to
convince the government the corporation is slimming down to justify an
above-inflation licence fee settlement.
But Mr Thompson, who argued as chief executive of Channel 4 that the BBC
was wallowing in a "jacuzzi of cash", believes the corporation has
become too large and cannot justify an increase in cash if it does not
cut costs first.
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