BBC staff have reacted angrily to a package of proposed cuts, including the closure of BBC 6 Music and the Asian Network, outlined by the corporation's director general Mark Thompson.
By Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent
Published: 2:09PM GMT 02 Mar 2010
BBC executives have cut themselves off from reality Photo: Stephen Lock
The plans to slash the BBC's radio, television and website services have been billed as the biggest shake-up the corporations 88-year history.
Mr Thompson's plans have been criticised by union leaders who say the BBC should be focusing on cutting executive pay rather than programmes and content.
Union leaders will meet Mark Thompson, on Wednesday but are already warning of strike action to fight the cuts.
Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the broadcasting workers’ union Bectu, warned up to 600 jobs could go, saying that "these cuts are totally unnecessary and are purely politically motivated.
“It is obvious that the BBC is being bounced by its competitors and by the political climate ahead of the forthcoming general election" he said.
“Where is the licence fee payer in these discussions? What consideration is being shown to people who enjoy the services now put at risk? Where is the BBC’s commitment to delivering for the UK’s diverse audience and to reflecting in the make-up of its staff the multicultural UK?
“If, at the end of the 3-month consultation period, these same proposals are rubber-stamped by the BBC Trust, then BECTU will oppose the changes, along with any compulsory redundancies which are tabled, and we will seek the support of our members for industrial action.
“In the meantime, we will be lobbying hard to reverse the BBC’s stance, which in our view only positions the BBC as a target for those who wish to see the Corporation cut down and the licence fee eradicated.”
The plans are part of the corporation’s strategy review, which has now been submitted to the BBC Trust and a wider consultation period will take place.
Speaking to staff, Mr Thompson pledged that in the future 90p of every £1 of licence fee will be spent on programming.
In a report to the BBC Trust titled Putting Quality First, the corporation said it wants to reprioritise nearly £600 million a year to higher quality content.
It wants to halve the number of sections on its website, close "lower performing sites" and spend 25 per cent less on its online offering by 2013.
The closure of teen offerings BBC Switch and Blast! is also recommended.
Spend on imported programmes and films would be reduced by 20 per cent, capping it thereafter at no more than 2.5p in every licence fee pound.
Spending on sports rights would be capped at 9p in every licence fee pound.
Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust said: "The public pick up the bill for the BBC and it is right that it constantly evolves to meet their expectations.
"This strategy review is a key part of that process.
"We welcome the general direction of this report, although we will want to test and consider how it is delivered.
"We are clear it heads towards a more disciplined and sharply- focused BBC. That will mean some difficult choices. But we will not shrink from those choices where they are in the interests of licence fee-payers.
"The end result should be a BBC that is genuinely distinctive, genuinely open and transparent and genuinely public service."