BBC to cut hundreds of jobs across World Service with radio stations to close

The BBC is set to close radio stations in its World Service (Getty Images)
The BBC is set to close radio stations in its World Service (Getty Images)

The BBC is planning to cut hundreds of jobs and shut down radio stations across its World Service.

The broadcaster said 382 jobs would be slashed under the proposals, which will also see the closure of BBC Arabic and BBC Persian radio.

It said high inflation, soaring costs, and a cash-flat licence fee settlement had led to “tough choices across the BBC”.

The BBC’s international services needed to save £28.5m as part of the wider £500m of annual savings as part of its bid to make the company digital-led, it said in a statement.

World Service English will continue to operate globally as 24-hour broadcast radio, with new scheduling, programmes and podcasts.

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A broadcasting union has hit out at the changes, saying it was “disappointed” at the proposals.

Philippa Childs from Bectu said: “While we recognise the BBC must adapt to meet the challenges of a changing media landscape, once again it is workers who are hit by the government’s poorly-judged political decisions - its freezing of the licence fee and the resulting funding challenges has necessitated these proposals.”

“As well as potential ramifications for the BBC‘s reputation globally, these proposals will directly impact the talented and dedicated people who work hard to deliver critical news services to the nation and beyond.”

Ms Childs added: “This is a challenging and uncertain time for our members and we will continue to fully engage with World Service over these proposals to do everything we can to support them.

Announcing the changes, Liliane Landor, the director of BBC World Service, said: “The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply.

“We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increasing the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further.”

She added: “There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences.

“The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing.”

The plans for World Service come just months after the BBC announced there would be job cuts as its News and World News channel merged. That move was expected to result in around 70 members of UK staff losing jobs.