‘Salami Slicing' Of BBC Is ‘Dirty Work' Of Government, Say Unions
BBC director general Mark Thompson has defended the decision to cut 2,000 corperation jobs and show more repeats by saying it can still deliver quality and creativity.
On Thursday he revealed a plan for a "smaller" BBC which includes less new programmes on BBC One, which will be replaced by repeats, fewer chat shows and panel shows on BBC Two, and digital channels BBC Three and Four will become feeder channels for BBC One and Two respectively.
But his positive spin on the changes were described by Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the technicians' union Bectu, as “salami slicing”.
Morrissey accused Thompson of doing the government's "dirty work" by making such big cuts in spending and jobs.
Around 2,000 jobs are expected to go by 2016 and around 1,000 more staff will move to the new BBC base at Media City in Salford.
There will be "a phased but full exit for the BBC's public services from their current home in West London" including its White City offices. The plan is expected to lead to savings of £670 million a year by 2016/17.
Thompson said: "It's a plan for a smaller BBC, but a BBC which uses its resources more effectively."
The BBC HD channel will be closed and replaced with an HD version of BBC Two and all new daytime shows will be moved to BBC One with more repeats on Two. There will also be less original programming on radio, with cuts to comedy on Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live and fewer lunchtime concerts on Radio 3.
The report states that BBC bosses considered "the possibility of shutting one or more services entirely" but rejected the idea on value-for-money grounds: "The decision to share Formula One motor-racing rights with BSkyB, for example, will save the BBC more cash between now and the end of the Charter than we would have saved by shutting one of the smaller TV channels."
The corporation is holding a series of meetings with its staff across the UK to reveal details of its Delivering Quality First initiative, but has already come under attack from unions.
The National Union of Journalists condemned the spending and job cuts, saying they had come on top of many years of other cutbacks across news and programme-making.
The union said more than 7,000 jobs had been lost at the BBC since 2004, adding that the situation "isn't sustainable".
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC: "We welcome that the BBC is thinking hard about what it does and where it should focus in future.
"We are committed to an independent, strong and successful BBC that is the cornerstone of British broadcasting.”