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Thousands of job cuts might be in the offing at the BBC, though a representative of the pubcaster Tuesday would neither confirm nor deny the widespread speculation.
The representative said that there would be no official line coming out of the network concerning rumors of pending staff cutbacks until the BBC board meets with the BBC Trust “sometime next week.”
Insiders said the job cuts would inevitably “be sizable” as BBC director general Mark Thompson juggles his budgets to try to make up a £2 billion ($4 billion) shortfall.
The speculation that the BBC plans to shed a large number of staffers amid anticipated budget cuts made the headlines in the U.K. on Tuesday, including in a Financial Times report predicting a 12% workforce cut with more than 2,000 jobs poised to go.
For its part, a BBC spokesperson insisted that it was all “speculation.”
Thompson and his board are scheduled to meet with the BBC Trust on Oct. 17 with his recommendations for cost-cutting measures across the organization before telling the staff the following day, insiders said.
The Financial Times report said senior staff members had been told redundancies will top the 2,000 mark, with one person “familiar with the situation” saying it could be closer to 3,000.
The Guardian followed up the report with its own prediction that many of the job losses would come from the BBC’s factual output strands. It also noted that should the cuts take place on such a grand scale, a strike was almost inevitable at the pubcaster.
The news of job losses comes hot on the heels of a string of scandals over faked telephone competitions and the departure last week of BBC1 controller Peter Fincham, the latest high-profile head to roll over the publication of a damning report of re-edited footage of the queen that was shown to journalists and international buyers.
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