The BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson is today unveiling how the UK public broadcaster will cut its spending by 20% over the next five years to meet the stringent terms of the licence fee settlement agreed with the government last year.
While no services are to be cut, BBC Two’s daytime budget is to be eliminated and there will be a reduction of about 3% in BBC One’s budget, taken from entertainment programming. BBC Three and Four will feed programming to BBC One and Two respectively, and see their budgets cut by about 10% each. The BBC HD channel is to be axed and replaced by an HD version of BBC Two. There will be no major changes to the BBC’s dedicated children’s services CBBC and Cbeebies.
The broadcaster’s sport budget is to be cut by 15%. Radio 4’s programming budget will be protected, but there will be a small reduction in BBC News’ overall activity.
The BBC is to cut 2,000 jobs out of a total of about 18,000 by 2017. A further 1,000 jobs will move to its new facilities in Salford, and the youth-oriented BBC Three channel will also move to Salford by 2016.
The Guardian newspaper earlier reported that Thompson planned to announce that the corporation is to leave its West London facilities at Television Centre and White City entirely under a plan that will see more staff moving out of London to Salford and other regional centres.
Under the terms imposed on the BBC by the government, the licence fee was set at £145.50 (€18.15) per annum for six years and the BBC was forced to accept a commitment to fund the BBC World Service as well as meeting part of the cost of rolling out broadband to user areas and funding the launch of local TV services as well as the cost of running Welsh-language service S4C.