I HAVE been asked to write to you on behalf of the members of the GMB B55 Boston General Branch to condemn the cuts being proposed to BBC local broadcasting – which has wider implications for public service broadcasting and democracy as a whole.
BBC local radio stations – like other parts of the corporation – are facing cuts. But the effect on local radio will be disproportionately more than in other parts of the BBC, since local radio generally employs fewer staff than other departments and, arguably, already operates on a slim budget – when taking into account the high level of news and speech content produced.
For BBC Lincolnshire, the bottom line is that they will have to lose the equivalent of seven members of staff – that’s around one in five of their total staffing. Afternoon programmes may be shared regionally, the evening programme will be shared right across England, and local weekend programming will be cut.
BBC Lincolnshire has been commended by police, emergency planners and local councils for the vital role it plays in the life of the local community. The station’s round-the-clock coverage during last winter’s snow helped save lives. The same can be said of its current campaign, recruiting almost 400 new LIVES first responders over the last year. It’s estimated that this effort will save more than 100 lives a year in the county. Important work such as this may no longer be possible.
BBC Local Radio gives the local community a voice. It is a service that is not duplicated in the private sector and should be at the heart of what the BBC does.
GMB B55 Boston General Branch