Leading article: BBC savings have to come from somewhere

Share
Related Topics

A licence fee settlement frozen at £145.50 until the end of 2016 means the BBC must take some difficult spending decisions. To make the depleted pot of money go round, its Director General, Mark Thompson, has embarked on a programme called Delivering Quality First, which seeks to identify cost savings from across the BBC.

Some of the proposals are radical. Cutting original programming on late-night BBC1, turning BBC2 into a repeats channel, replacing daytime output on BBC local radio with content from Radio 5 Live, axing coverage of Formula One motor racing and, horror of horrors, not showing the Wimbledon tennis championships. Such suggestions have prompted predictable howls of anguish.

We have been here before. When, a year ago, the BBC announced it would cut the digital radio station 6 Music, a public campaign succeeded in saving it from the guillotine. BBC Asian Network, which was threatened with closure at the same time, received its reprieve this month. Mr Thompson yesterday acknowledged that the threat to 6 Music had been a "novel marketing technique", and that ratings have since improved.

He may be happy that audiences will rally around their favourite services to save them from the knife, generating publicity and an outpouring of public support for BBC content. Yesterday he would only say that the possible cuts amounted to a "set of open questions" and that some "frankly aren't going to fly".

All of which leaves the BBC's staff in a state of deep uncertainty over their futures for the next four months until this exercise is completed. We should give particular thought to those BBC journalists who are "running on empty", covering an unprecedented run of global news stories. The BBC foreign news budget is already spent and more money will have to be found from elsewhere.

No one could dispute that such reporting is at the very core of the BBC's public-service broadcasting remit. But savings are going to have to come from somewhere, and the BBC should be no more immune from the need to prioritise than any other organisation.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?