BBC Scotland announces plans to cut 60 jobs
By Democrat reporter
About 60 jobs are to go at BBC Scotland, which has a studio complex in Dumbarton, as part of efforts to meet savings targets.
The corporation has announced it needs to reduce spending by £6.2m by the end of next March.
It blamed the move on “ongoing financial challenges compounded by the effects of Covid-19”.
BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon told staff that although efficiencies had been identified, the headcount had to be reduced by about 60.
The BBC said previous years of a stand-still licence fee had meant £800m of savings had to be found across the organisation over the first five years of its current charter.
It said the impact of Covid-19 – where licence fee collection had gone down and commercial income had fallen – and the impact of paying the licence fees for those over 75, had resulted in a further savings target of £125m.
Last week, director general Tony Hall announced a voluntary redundancy “trawl” across the whole of the BBC.
The corporation said it hoped that many of its post closures would come via that route, although compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out.
“BBC Scotland has been fortunate to attract significant investment in the last few years securing a new TV channel, increased network programming and the establishment of a design and engineering hub,” said Ms MacKinnon.
“That meant we were able to create an additional 250 jobs – but we aren’t immune to the new financial challenges now facing many businesses up and down the country.
“Sadly that means that along with cost cutting measures throughout our departments, we estimate we will also have to lose around 60 posts to make the savings required.”
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the BBC was at a “pivotal point” in its history.
She said that at a time when the broadcaster had “brilliantly risen to the challenge of a global pandemic” it now faced losing “experienced talented staff”.
She called on the government to step in to fill in the funding gap alongside a wider debate about future funding of the BBC.
Broadcasting union Bectu echoed the calls for the government to intervene.
National secretary Noel McClean said the BBC had shown itself to be the “most used and most trusted source of information for the nation”.
He said that was down to the hard work of its members who would be “devastated” that jobs were at risk.
The search for volunteers for redundancy will take place over the next six weeks and staff will hear when and where posts will close after that process.
BBC Scotland currently employs more than 1,100 workers across the country, including at its headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dumbarton and Aberdeen.