BBC to axe further 73 World Service jobs as daily programming is slashed

Cuts come as Government funding transfers from the Foreign Office to the broadcaster

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The Independent Culture

The BBC is to axe a further 73 posts at the World Service as part of cuts resulting from the Government’s decision to transfer funding of the iconic network from the Foreign Office to the broadcaster.

The World Service will also be cutting its output of news programming from 18 hours each weekday to 14 hours and dropping a series of programmes from its schedules in order to make further savings. Shows such as Your World, The Bottom Line and World Briefing are to be axed.

The World Service has to find £42m in savings from their current Foreign Office funding by April 2014, when the World Service will be paid for from the BBC licence fee.

Cuts announced to World Service today are designed to deliver the final £12m of these savings and will include 25 job cuts at the flagship English-language service, as it reduced the number of specialist English announcers. The remaining job losses will be spread across the other 27 language services.

The lost posts form part of a wider shake-up which also includes programme changes as the English language service increases the proportion of news and current affairs in its schedule. A new news analysis programme The Newsroom is being introduced in place of World Briefing and the cultural show The Strand is being replaced by a further edition of the magazine programme Outlook, which will be more topical in its output.

The cuts are not as severe as those announced last year, when the World Service dropped five language services in changes intended to deliver £30m in savings.

The Director of BBC Global News Peter Horrocks today told staff:  “As we prepare to move to Licence Fee funding, by focussing on key strategic objectives, we will be able to demonstrate that we have clear direction and purpose and are as efficient as possible.”