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Union anger over BBC plan to axe 2,000 jobs

The BBC came under attack from unions today after revealing that 2,000 jobs are to be axed under plans to make savings of 20%.

The corporation published its Delivering Quality First programme, which included savings of £670 million a year by 2016/17 on top of £30 million of savings generated by exceeding targets for its current efficiency programme.

Director general Mark Thompson said the plan meant "stretching efficiencies and significant job losses", adding: "It's my judgment that this is the last time the BBC will be able to make this level of savings without a substantial loss of services or quality or both."

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the technicians' union Bectu, said the programme should have been called Destroying Quality First.

"They are destroying jobs, and destroying the BBC," he said.

Mr Morrissey accused Mr Thompson of doing the Government's "dirty work" by making such big cuts in spending and jobs, accusing the corporation of "salami slicing".

The BBC said it will build on its current efficiency programme, which has already seen savings of more than £1 billion since 2008/09, to release a further £400 million of savings per year by 2016/17.

The BBC Trust said it had been assessing this work with the help of independent advisers, adding that the savings will be achieved by a more flexible workforce which "reduces duplication of expertise", streamlining the use of technology, continuing to reduce the number of senior managers and increasing production outside London.

A series of meetings will be held at BBC offices across the UK today when staff will be told how the cuts will affect them, while union leaders will meet senior management later.

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