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BBC to cut 415 news department jobs in latest austerity drive

Jobs cut linked to licence fee freeze, but News Director says 195 new roles will be created in restructuring.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE BBC SAID today it will cut 415 jobs from its news department in the latest cost-cutting measures by the world’s largest public broadcaster.

Director of News James Harding said the cuts over the next two years were part of savings needed as a result of a freeze in the licence fee, which all British households with a television must pay.

“It will be a testing time of uncertainty and change,” the British Broadcasting Corporation quoted Harding as telling staff in a briefing at its headquarters in London.

But he said the BBC would create 195 new posts in the news division as part of a restructuring plan, meaning a net reduction of 220 full-time jobs overall.

BBC workers are set to go on strike on July 23 during the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland over the layoffs.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government froze the licence fee for six years in 2010 as part of sweeping austerity measures to cut a record deficit.

The BBC also announced 2,000 job cuts in November 2011.

BBC News currently employs around 8,400 people, including around 5,000 journalists, the corporation said.

- © AFP, 2014

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