BBC Budget coverage forced off air as local journalists strike over cuts

BBC Budget coverage forced off air as local journalists strike over cuts

Regional output across the BBC is being disrupted after journalists across local radio, regional TV and digital services in England walked out from 11am in a 24-hour strike.

Syndicated programmes will be broadcast on some local radio stations, while others will use pre-prepared content or stand-in hosts until normal schedules resume at 11am tomorrow.

The disruption meant that the BBC’s Budget day coverage was forced off air on its local radio stations as staff staged the biggest strike action in 13 years.

The BBC does not expect all of the 1.30pm, 6.30pm and late regional programmes across England to be broadcast.

A BBC spokesperson confirmed BBC South West put out their 1.30pm Spotlight news, and BBC East Midlands Today are scheduled to go out tonight at 6.30pm.

Certain local BBC radio stations have Tweeted about the strike, saying the station “will still be available to listen to but there will be changes to our usual schedules.”


Certain programmes will be replaced with BBC News, and some Breakfast bulletins by teams in Salford.


The BBC said: “We’re sorry that audiences will experience some changes to local tv and radio services in England as a result of industrial action by the National Union of Journalists. We have tried to minimise disruption as much as possible.

“We are obviously disappointed that the strike has gone ahead. We have a plan to modernise local services across England  – including more news journalists and a stronger local online service – which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding. Our goal is a local service across tv, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities.

“We will continue to engage with the trade union and do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff.”

The strike action was voted for by 83% of balloted members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) over the BBC’s plans to share programming between 39 local stations and cut 48 jobs as part of its digital-first strategy.

More strikes are being considered by the NUJ to coincide with May’s local elections, King Charles’ coronation, and the Eurovision Song Contest hosted in Liverpool.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said of the strike today: “Staff are striking this week as a last resort — they are under no illusion that the BBC’s plans will undermine already hollowed out local radio content across England.

“It’s not simply a question about jobs and conditions for our members — they believe passionately in the value that quality local content brings to their audiences, journalism that is trusted and relied upon in the communities they serve.

“The BBC’s raiding of local radio budgets to fund its Digital First strategy is wrongheaded and risks undermining a vital part of our public service broadcasting. People want local relevant news that is accessible, and that should remain a core part of the breadth of BBC output.” 

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