BBC facing horror EXODUS: Senior journalists to be sacked as £1.4billion black hole bites

BBC licence fee freeze will ‘affect’ output says Tim Davie

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This comes after a two-year licence fee freeze was announced in January, leaving a £1.4 billion shortfall for the broadcaster. The fee will be kept at £159 until 2024. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is also considering keeping further increases of the licence fee below the level of inflation from 2024 onwards.

According to an email seen by the Times, the broadcaster has reopened its voluntary redundancy scheme, looking for more than 12 employees to step forward.

According to an analysis by the paper, journalists with more than 1,000 years of experience have left the BBC over the past two years.

Well-known journalists including Andrew Marr, Andrew Neil and Simon McCoy have all departed in recent months.

This comes amid growing fears that the cuts are leading to on-air blunders becoming more prevalent.

The broadcaster faced backlash after it booked Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz to appear on BBC News, just minutes after Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking.

The BBC admitted that the US lawyer had not been “a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst” at that time, blaming Christmas and Covid-related staff shortages for the error.

According to the Times, the broadcaster’s interim director of news and current affairs Jonathan Munro told an all-staff meeting last month: “We make mistakes sometimes, you know, we’re a 24/7 live news operation on multiple platforms.

“We rely on human judgments being made all the time and dynamic and pressurised situations.

“I think we can . . . be really confident about the vast, vast, vast majority of our output, which is accurate, trusted, impartial, and all of the scores that measure those things demonstrate that.”

After the changes to the licence fee were announced in January, an ally of Ms Dorries said the BBC as we know it is “over”.

They told the Mail on Sunday: “There will be a lot of anguished noises about how it will hit popular programmes, but they can learn to cut waste like any other business.

“This will be the last BBC licence fee negotiation ever.

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“Work will start next week on a mid-term review to replace the Charter with a new funding formula.

“It’s over for the BBC as they know it.”

But Peter Bone, a long-standing critic of the BBC, said he imagined the funding cuts would make the broadcaster “more efficient”.

The MP for Wellingborough – who introduced the Private Members’ Bill aimed at scrapping the licence fee – told Express.co.uk: “Certainly if the BBC has to raise the money in a commercial way then they will be forced to be more efficient, more cost-effective.

“They probably wouldn’t pay such huge amounts of money to certain presenters.

“The problem at the moment is they have a guaranteed income.

“It doesn’t matter how rubbish they are, there is no incentive for them to save money.

“So I think just switching away from the licence fee would improve the running of the BBC.

“I think they’re going to have to be more responsive to the people who watch it.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for comment.

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