BBC Trust OKs pubcaster changes, including cuts


LONDON -- The BBC Trust gave the green light Wednesday to director general Mark Thompson's plans for the pubcaster, which include sizable job cuts.

The BBC Trust unanimously decided to give the go-ahead to the strategy, which lays out plans to shape the future of the grand old dame of broadcasting for the next six years.

Insiders said Thompson told the trust that the budget moves would involve 2,800 job cuts but that he aimed to create 1,000 new roles to cope with the digital age.

BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said in a statement that the trust is "confident that the plans we have approved today will safeguard the core values of the BBC at a time of radical and accelerating change in technology, markets and audience expectations."

Speaking before the meeting to the corporation's Web site BBC News 24, Lyons said there were some "difficult decisions to make."

Thompson is set to make the full extent of his plans and decisions to both BBC staffers and the public Thursday.

Media commentators here are all saying the size of the job cuts will mean that industrial action at the corporation is almost inevitable.

The National Union of Journalists and broadcasting body BECTU are reported to be drawing up contingency plans to fight against the job cuts with strike action mentioned.

Pundits and insiders alike all agree that BBC News and Factual TV will likely bear the biggest job losses when the ax falls.

There also has been speculation that the corporation's west London studio site, Television Center, will have a for sale sign slapped on it within weeks.

Thompson is taking the measures as he juggles his budgets to try to make up a £2 billion ($4.1 billion) shortfall at the pubcaster.

The government announced in January that the BBC's license fee would rise to £151.50 by 2012.

At the time, Thompson said the settlement left a shortfall of about £2 billion over the six years and was less than the projected rate of inflation over the six years.