BBC Axes Two Radio Stations
Many in the industry have already criticised the move and described it as “politically motivated”.
In a report to the BBC Trust, titled Putting Quality First, the Beeb revealed plans to halve the number of sections on its website, close “lower performing sites” and spend 25 per cent less on its online content.
The proposition amounts to a pledge to cut spending on imported programmes & films and a cap on sports rights spending.
The BBC said the licence fee will focus on five main priorities; “the best journalism in the world, inspiring knowledge, music and culture, ambitious UK drama and comedy, outstanding children’s content and events that bring communities and the nation together”.
The announcement sparked fear that jobs will be lost and Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the broadcasting workers union Bectu, predicted that up to 600 jobs could go.
“These cuts are totally unnecessary and are purely politically motivated. It is obvious that the BBC is being bounced by its competitors and by the political climate ahead of the upcoming general election.”
“It is not acceptable for the BBC to be offering up services and jobs as some kind of sacrifice ahead of the general election.”
BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said: “The public pick up the bill for the BBC and it is right that it constantly evolves to meet their expectations. This strategy review is a key part of that process. We welcome the general direction of this report, although we will want to test and consider how it is delivered”.
“We are clear it heads towards a more disciplined and sharply- focused BBC. That will mean some difficult choices. But we will not shrink from those choices where they are in the interests of licence fee-payers.
“The end result should be a BBC that is genuinely distinctive, genuinely open and transparent and genuinely public service.”