NUJ to fight cuts to regional political desk at Millbank
BBC News is to cut four staff members from the regional political desk at Millbank – the service that provides bespoke content to local radio and regional TV outlets.
This small team represents outstanding value for money for licence fee payers, serving 39 local radio stations and 13 TV regions in England every weekday. The cuts would reduce the ability of Millbank journalists to cover important regional parliamentary debates, including clips of local MPs speaking in Parliament.
The proposals have been put forward without any consultation with the political editors and local radio stations across the network which regularly use the service. It will also put pressure on the already depleted regional news staff to now cover the debates.
This week, Tim Davie, BBC director general, was questioned by MPs on the DCMS select committee but appeared not to know about the specifics of the proposals, promising MPs he would “get back to them in writing”.
Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said:
“These cuts will be a real blow to regional news coverage of events in Parliament which have interest to audiences across England. Surely it makes sense to have this service which can be picked up by local radio stations and regional TV rather than each having to cover the debates themselves. This would be a huge duplication of effort and take away valuable time to cover other local democracy stories. The union will be arguing hard against these cuts and will be informing the NUJ’s Parliamentary Group of this worrying development.”