BBC News Division Cutting 415 Jobs, Reducing Budget by 26 Percent

Britain’s premier public service broadcasting corporation announced restructuring plans that would reduce its operating budget by $82 million per year by the end of 2016

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BBC has plans to slash its operating budget by $82 million per year and cut 415 jobs from its well-respected news division, BBC News Group, by 2016-17.

The U.K.-based corporation proposes to add 195 jobs during the restructuring process, which would still put the net loss of positions at 220, it announced Thursday.

The moves come after a license fee settlement with the British government that forced the public service broadcaster to slash its budget by 26 percent.

According to the BBC, this budget reduction strategy would “ensure the BBC can deliver even more distinctive, original journalism,” “restructure the newsroom to create a new 24/7 digital news operation” across multiple news reading devices and “complete the integration of network news with the World Service and local and regional systems.”

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“Taking nearly £50 million out of a well-run organisation that provides high quality news services that are trusted, relied upon and used by millions of people is an extremely difficult undertaking,” said James Harding, BBC’s Director, News and Current Affairs. “The challenge is how to make BBC News even better, despite having less money.”

“The BBC is one of the very best things about this country,” he continued. “It is trusted, needed and loved by the vast majority of people — and all they ask is that we keep on making it better. Delivering ever better value for money is part of that. Investing in getting and telling stories — in original, distinctive journalism — is part of that. And reorienting ourselves to lead the world of news into a digital future is part of that too. But it’s only a part: the most important part, what will win it for us, is what we put on screen, on air and online — the news.”

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BBC News Group currently has around 8,400 employees, according to the report. About 5,000 are journalists, with many based overseas.