BBC to prune workforce by the thousands: report

MUMBAI: The BBC in the UK is said to be finalising plans to cut up to a quarter of its 28,000-strong workforce in the biggest single reorganisation in its history.

A report in The Times states that the changes, being masterminded by BBC director-general Mark Thompson, could lead to thousands of jobs being lost in the news and production divisions.

While the BBC has not commented on the number of job cuts, around 6,000 jobs are expected to be under threat from next year, according to the report.

The proposed reorganisation comes as the BBC faces the debate on whether its ten-year Royal Charter that ends in 2006 should be renewed. By demonstrating that costs are under control, the BBC believes that it can justify accepting a lot of public money. Last year's income from the licence fee was ?2.8 billion.

Another report in The Sunday Mail states that there are four reviews under way. The first is examining the future of the commercial arms of the BBC. The second is looking at its content supply system, which regulates who makes programmes.

The third is considering whether the corporation should move more of its activities outside London. The final 'value for money' review is looking at the corporation's efficiency.

The reviews are expected to be completed in early December. Thompson and BBC chairman Michael Grade have targetted savings of ?2 billion before the earlier mentioned Royal Charter comes up for review. Ernst & Young has been assigned to conduct a study that will examine the BBC's departmental spending.

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