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BBC sees belt-tightening ahead

Lyons takes tough line on spending

BBC chairman Michael Lyons warned Thursday of sweeping changes after government modifications to the pubcaster’s license fee cut £2 billion ($4 billion) from its budget over the next six years (Daily Variety, Jan. 18).

Speaking to the Times and the Daily Telegraph to mark his first 100 days on the job, Lyons stressed that the BBC Trust had not ruled out axing digital channels BBC3 or BBC4 or scaling back the launch of new services.

“The BBC Trust will be saying very clearly that we don’t want the BBC to be doing more than it can do very well,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “It is about what you can afford to do with the money you’ve got.”

Lyons would not disclose the spending plans presented by director general Mark Thompson.

The comments come amid reports of major budget cuts in newsgathering and factual programming.

Lyons also hit back at suggestions that his appointment had been subject to political influence.

“My decision to apply was completely independent, not shared with anybody else,” he said. “The process was absolutely the same process that’s used for other public appointments.”

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