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BBC cuts 450 staff in regional restructure

July 2, 2020

The BBC is to make 450 staff working on its regional programmes in England redundant as part of cost-cutting measures to save £25 million (€28m). The announcement comes despite the BBC repeatedly emphasising its desire to move more jobs outside London.

The BBC’s local radio stations and television bulletins will be hit particularly hard, with a substantial reduction in the number of on-air presenters as part of 139 job cuts. All stations will operate with just three daytime shows, a schedule initially imposed as a temporary measure during the pandemic. Any shows with two hosts will be required to go down to just one presenter – meaning an end to some long-established breakfast partnerships.

Regional television and online teams will also merge, with the BBC England director, Helen Thomas, saying the current structure does not reflect where audiences are: “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.”

There were announcements earlier this month that 150 jobs would go at the BBC’s offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new BBC vision for regional and local services includes:

  • Modernising the BBC’s regional TV centres – investing in the latest technology and introducing a new, consistent operating model for each newsroom with digital story telling at its core.
  • Commissioning a broader range of TV programming that reflects life across England especially in the North and Midlands.
  • Launching a new investigative journalism programme on BBC One for audiences in the English regions.
  • Reimagining the BBC’s political coverage outside Westminster with weekly regional politics programmes retained and two new digital programmes piloted.
  • Continuing work already underway to explore what more the BBC can do in the North and the Midlands to better serve audiences in those regions.

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