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05/11/2010

BBC World Service Cuts Sparks Jobs Fear

The funding cuts at BBC World Service will jeopardise more than 300 jobs, the Director of BBC Global News has warned.
Speaking to MPs earlier this week, Peter Horrocks said that the jobs were at risk because the service faced a budget cut of more than 16%, as a result of the six-year licence fee freeze, which will see the World Service being funded by the BBC rather than the Foreign Office.
Speaking to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Horrocks said: "We are a very staff-heavy organisation, most of our costs are in people. So, the reduction in staff numbers will be broadly in line with the level of savings that we need to make, ie more than 16%. Our staffing is 2,000, so you can work it out relatively straightforwardly. It will be hundreds of jobs that need to go."
Mr Horrocks also confirmed that some foreign broadcast services would be forced to close as a result of the cuts, but suggested that this was a necessary move, "not simply because of the spending settlement… it is something we need to assess because of competitors and because of impact with our audiences".
However, Mr Horrocks said that he was in favour of the transfer of the funding responsibility from the Foreign Office to the BBC for the service, was "in the best interests".
The new funding arrangement will not affect the Foreign Secretary's current veto over any closures of foreign language services at the World Service.
(KMcA)
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