BBC England to cut 450 jobs
UK pubcaster the BBC is to cut around 450 jobs across its English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news departments.
The job cuts at BBC England, which has more than 3,000 staff, come as it must save £25m (US$31m) by the end of March 2022.
The proposals are subject to consultation with staff and are part of a wider plan to “re-invent” BBC England to “serve audiences better, respond to lessons learnt during the Covid-19 crisis and make savings to tackle its financial challenges,” the BBC said.
It is also aiming to commission a broader range of TV programming that reflects life across England, with a particular focus on the North and Midlands, and will launch a new investigative journalism programme on BBC1 for audiences in the English regions.
The BBC, which already had to save £800m in this charter period before Covid-19 struck, said the pandemic has added a further £125m to its savings total due to a shortfall in revenue.
Meanwhile, BBC England is continuing to seek to work with other parts of the BBC “to better reflect communities across the country in different TV genres,” it said.
This work is already underway with BBC England part-funding the recent BBC3 documentary series Angels of the North, about a hair salon in Gateshead.
Helen Thomas, 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.”