MPs write to Ofcom over BBC regional news cuts

10 August 2020

Damian Collins MP and 22 other MPs from across the south east of England have written to Ofcom about cuts the BBC is making in regional news and journalism.

The letter has come about after local Bectu and NUJ South East representatives met with MPs over Zoom to discuss concerns about changes the BBC is making to local news reporting.

Collins wrote to the chief executive of Ofcom Dame Melanie Dawes urging the regulator to respond to the BBC proposed cuts that would affect regional journalism.

The BBC is proposing to cut 450 jobs to try to save £25m from BBC England. The changes include the end of Inside Out – a regional news programme – with a new investigative strand headquartered in Birmingham.

In the letter Collins questions whether the BBC is fulfilling its mission and purpose. It also highlights the most recent Ofcom annual BBC report which said that it should “better reflect the whole of the UK with authentic news and current affairs content”.

Bectu national secretary Noel McClean said: “We have already highlighted to the BBC that Bectu believes these changes are overly ambitious, that there are far too few redeployment options and will result in understaffing.

“Regional news is a key part of the BBC’s output and there are other options that need to be considered before this plan is settled on. We will continue to push back on these proposals and work to support members who will be affected by these changes.”

Bectu is encouraging members to write to their MP to highlight their concerns.