BBC staff are waiting to hear how many of them will be made redundant as director general Mark Thompson publicly unveils his cost plans today.

The BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, yesterday approved Mr Thompson's cost-cutting strategy for addressing the £2 billion licence fee shortfall caused by an unexpectedly low licence fee settlement.

While some 2,800 jobs are expected to be at risk - notably in the current affairs and factual departments - there are also suggestions that the Television Centre studio complex in Shepherd's Bush could be sold.

Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the Trust, confirmed that Mr Thompson's approach for the next six years received unanimous approval from board members.

Sir Michael Lyons said the plans were "definitely in the best interests" of the corporation.

"We are confident that the plans we have approved today will safeguard the core values of the BBC at a time of radical and accelerating change in technology, markets and audience expectations," he told BBC News 24.

BBC staff have reacted angrily to the alleged plans to amalgamate the television, online and radio newsrooms, with some 84 signatories outlining their concerns in an letter published in the Guardian last week.

Radio 4 staff penned an open letter to Sir Michael Lyons, urging him to think again before sanctioning a "devastating series of cutbacks which will seriously threaten the quality of the service we provide".

However, Sir Michael is unlikely to have been swayed by the letter, having already urged high-profile staff members such as Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys to keep their complaints private.

The National Union of Journalists and broadcaSting union Bectu will meet to discuss their response after Mr Thompson's plans are confirmed, with a mass strike widely predicted.

A senior broadcaster told the Telegraph: "There will be a strike. That is definite. Some big programmes will go off the air."


18/10/2007 09:47:53