Unions accuse BBC cuts to be 'politically motivated'

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London, Mar. 3 (ANI): Following the confirmation of BBC's proposal to axe two radio stations, including the Asian Network, unions have accused director general Mark Thompson of having political motives behind announcing the cuts.

Unions, who have warned of strikes, accused Thompson of announcing the shrinking plans to appease Tory critics.

"These cuts are totally unnecessary and are purely politically motivated," The Sun quoted BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey, as saying.

The corporation has announced to close Asian Network and 6 Music apart from closing half the broadcaster's website. It will also slash spending on US shows and sports.

Up to 600 jobs will be cut, with the 600 million pounds saved going into "quality" programming.

Jeremy Dear, of the National Union of Journalists, said: "If the BBC has to look at savings, they should tackle executive pay."

Richard Bacon, a presenter at 6 Music who also hosts a Radio 5 show, wrote on his Twitter page: "6 Music is distinctive and serves an audience not catered for by the commercial sector. What happens when folk apply whatever rationale they have come up with to other parts of the BBC?"

But BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said: "The public pick up the bill for the BBC. It is right that it constantly evolves to meet their expectations. That will mean some difficult choices. But we will not shrink from those choices where they are in the interests of licence fee payers."

According to a YouGov poll conducted on Tuesday, 52 per cent of viewers insisted the cuts are not enough, and only 12 per cent said the BBC should increase the licence fee instead.

Just 28 per cent said the 142.50 pound charge was worth it - thought to be its lowest ever support. (ANI)

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