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BBC Cuts - There Is An Alternative

There is a quiet crisis unfolding at the BBC

Viewers and listeners do not yet realise the full impact but the BBC as we know it, our BBC, is at risk as a result of repeated attacks on its funding.

The BBC’s strengths are its editorial independence and its integrity: the corporation provides unrivalled training and experience for its staff who produce world-beating television, radio programming and high quality drama and comedy. It supports wide-ranging local and regional coverage and enriches the cultural landscape with events such as the Proms, ensuring the UK’s huge export success in audio-visual markets.

A disastrous licence fee settlement reached as part of the spending review in 2010 is the final blow. A BBC weakened by these cuts will be much more vulnerable to its enemies, who have consistently argued for it to be privatised. This year marks the eighth consecutive year of cuts at the corporation. By the end of the current BBC Charter a further 20 per cent will have been taken from the BBC’s budgets.

This campaign sets out our alternative, drawing on research carried out into the impact of the BBC’s proposed cuts – styled by the corporation “Delivering Quality First”. Watching or listening to BBC News, even today, you will see and hear packages and reports repeated with greater frequency and the same editorial line on a story being taken across different outlets. The misguided ‘less is more’ strategy, dubbed by the BBC ‘fewer, bigger, better’, has already damaged the range and plurality of programming.

The trades unions representing thousands of actors, musicians, journalists, writers and technical and production staff care about the future of the BBC. BBC executives, under Director General Mark Thompson, have capitulated to successive government-imposed cuts to licence fee and Foreign Office funding and this strategy has caused great damage.

We believe there is an alternative settlement which understands the value of the BBC and seeks to protect and preserve it for the future. We call on the new Director General George Entwistle to fight for our BBC.

Signed by Federation of Entertainment Union general secretaries: Bernie Corbett (Writers' Guild of Great Britain), Gerry Morrissey (BECTU), Christine Payne (Equity), John Smith (Musicians' Union), Michelle Stanistreet (National Union of Journalists), Mike Eatwell (industrial officer IT & communications sector, Unite)

What you can do to help:

This is an ideal opportunity for all members of Equity to show BBC Director General George Entwistle just how much the BBC is valued.  

1. Write to your MP

It is better to write your own personal letter than a standard or model letter as it shows the strength of feeling you have about the campaign. Relaying personal experiences about the campaign to your elected representative will help to illustrate the key issues.

  • Introduce yourself and say where you live and what your work is.
  • Clearly and simply explain about the campaign.
  • Give examples of how you are affected and why you oppose the cuts.
  • Be specific about what you would like your MP to do (i.e. participate in the BBC's public consultation, contact the BBC Trust and local BBC management, raise the issues with the Minister, ask questions in Parliament). Find your MP: 
  • You can find a model letter in the campaign booklet.

2. BBC Delivering Quality First public consultation make your views known.

The official BBC public consultation has closed, but that does not stop you from making your views known to the BBC. You can send a letter to George Entwistle, BBC Director General, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA or you can email it to You can use the arguments from our campaign booklet to support your case or you can download a sample letter here.

3. Get local support for the campaign

Working with others will help the campaign – contact local organisations which are affected by the proposals and ask them for support. You may want to contact non-governmental organisations such as community groups, charities, faith organisations, trade unions and local businesses. You can also write to local councillors, local trade councils and prominent people in your community and ask them to speak out against the BBC cuts.

4. Download the campaign booklet

The campaign booklet is full of information you can use to lobby your MP, incuding:

  • The 48 hours that sealed the fate of the BBC: how the licence fee deal was done
  • The alternative view: Our proposals for the new Director General
  • The social & economic impact of the cuts: research by Landman Economics
  • A sample postcard to send to BBC Director General George Entwistle.

Download the campaign booklet here. For printed copies of the campaign booklet contact Equity on


If you are an Equity member, login to make a comment. All posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.

Petition to preserve BBC Television Centre Studio TC8 for it's original purpose.

Name: Ian Seale

Date: 23 April 2013

Even if you don't work in TV, please read and sign - it's in your own interest.

This petition argues for the preservation of studio TC8 at BBC Television Centre and against plans for its closure. Under current BBC proposals, studios TC1, TC2 and TC3 are to remain a going concern at BBC Television Centre for some time to come. This is good, but it doesn't go far enough.

TC1, TC2 and TC3 are not enough on their own to service network television production in the capital. An additional mid-sized studio is needed for productions too small for TC1 and too big for TC2.

The studios at TV Centre are among the busiest in the country, providing space and facilities for productions from all the main television channels. Maintaining a fourth studio space at the building will enable BBC Studios and Post-Production to continue to do this and will also help save an important piece of television history in the process. Without it, the capital will be left with a chronic shortage of viable studio space - costing the BBC much more money in the long run".

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Name: Tracey Briggs

Date: 11 July 2012

Dear Peter Robertson

This alternative booklet is not "chasing ordinary people to pay more" I hope you will read it from cover to cover a few times. It is questioning how the latest licence fee settlement was made - What was actually said in the very private meeting just between Jeremy Hunt and Mark Thompson, Head of the BBC. What role did the Murdoch family play in this settlement, what influence did the Murdoch's bring to bear?

Its asking questions such as why is the licence fee being used to pay for Jeremy Hunt pet project of local TV at the same time as drastically reducing local radio output, and devastating the Asian network? Why is the BBC being made to pay for the broadband roll-out? Why is the BBC paying Murdoch to screen BBC production on sky, shouldn't it be the other way round?

Here in the Midlands region there are many licence fee payers who are absolutely furious about this settlement because “While the BBC has made commitments to incerease production in the Nations, there are major concerns about the future of the English regions, especially Birmingham. By the end of 2012 almost no television or radio will be made for the national networks in Birmingham, which could cause lasting damage to the local economy and especially the creative industries in the West Midland"

I was very much involved in the licence fee payers campaign here in the Midlands to try and Save BBC factual and we were sent round in circles. There was no mention in the Delivering Quality First public consultation document of the fact that BBC production from our region is practically all but being closed down. We wrote letters to Lord Patten and were told the decision had already been made, write to Jeremy Hunt" we wrote to Jeremy Hunt and were told "the government doesn't like to interfere, write to Lord Patten".

So at no point as ordinary licence fee payers were we allowed to question the decisions made by Mark Thompson, Lord Patten or Jeremy Hunt. Decisions which are are devastating to the economy of the Midlands region!

Now I may be a union member but I am also a licence fee payer and I have many friends who are NOT members of any union but they are licence fee payers living in the Midlands region and they are furious!!!

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Name: Equity Admin

Date: 11 July 2012

Hi Peter. We are campaigning to persuade the broadcasting industry to create more work outside London and employ the wealth of local talent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We would welcome your input on this campaign, take a look at

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Name: Peter Robertson

Date: 11 July 2012

I think its an absolute disgrace that you as a union are chasing ordinary people to pay more for a stupid BBC license to watch what is commonly regarded as crap. Fight for Scotland to get its fair share of the BBC's money, because at the moment we get 2% of which should be 9%. For if you dont when we get independece we will have our own tv corporation and the English BBC will have even less money. Did you think about that. No. If you continue to pursue the license fee i will with draw my membership and i will start a campaign to all scots to start a new equity now that we are going to get our independence. Scotland funds England at the BBC. Tell the staff to take less taxpayers money as wages, including entertainers, (as they get far more money than any actor). Time to stick up for the Scots to get our fair share.

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