The BBC has scrapped some regional news bulletins tonight in England following staff walkouts after the media organisation announced plans to cut local radio stations. The media organisation BBC West tweeted: "Due to industrial action, there will be no Points West on BBC One today at 1.30pm, 6.30pm, 10.30pm.
"These programmes will be replaced with BBC News, and our Breakfast bulletins tomorrow will be provided by our team in Salford. There are also changes to our local radio schedules."
Garden Rescue will be shown at 6:30pm to replace local programmes across England and the Channel Islands including Look North, Midlands Today and Spotlight.
BBC Local Radio services will also be subject to disruption until 11am on Thursday, when the strike ends. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland news bulletins will not be affected.
BBC journalists in radio, TV and online commenced strike action today (March 15) as part of an ongoing dispute over the media organisation’s plans to cut local radio. 5.7 million listeners tune in to BBC Local radio stations each week but proposals aim to cut services, meaning there will only be 40 hours of guaranteed weekly programming if the plans go ahead.
The National Union of Journalists has urged the BBC to rethink the cuts. NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “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.”
However, the BBC’s Jason Horton defended the cuts this morning as he said: “This is a transformation programme not a savings plan. That means we’re not cutting our spend – instead, we plan to move about 10% of our funding towards strengthening our local online services and the impact of our storytelling.”
Tonight’s late bulletin and Thursday’s Breakfast bulletins across England are subject to change.