Top BBC presenters including Huw Edwards get redundancy letters

Top BBC presenters including Huw Edwards, Reeta Chakrabarti, Clive Myrie and Sophie Raworth get bombshell redundancy letters as the Beeb tries to save millions

  • The cash-strapped BBC is trying to save costs by restructuring its news division
  • Furious insiders say it has caused already low staff morale to plummet further 
  • Huw Edwards received the letter despite recently signing a new three-year deal 

The BBC has sent redundancy letters to some of its most famous news presenters, including Huw Edwards, Reeta Chakrabarti, Clive Myrie and Sophie Raworth.

The cash-strapped Corporation, which is trying to save costs by restructuring its news division, has written to all its senior TV and radio presenters asking them to consider voluntary redundancy.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the letter from Philippa Busby, the interim managing editor of news and current affairs, has been sent to senior figures on BBC1, as well as some of Radio 4’s biggest names, including Nick Robinson and Justin Webb, who host the station’s flagship Today programme.

The decision to target some of the most senior journalists has sent shockwaves through BBC News. Furious insiders say it has caused morale among staff, which was already low, to plummet even further.

The redundancy letters have been linked to cost-cutting measures announced by Director-General Tim Davie last year.

The BBC has sent redundancy letters to some of its presenters, including Huw Edwards (pictured)

 Reeta Chakrabarti (pictured) is also among those who have received redundancy letters

As part of these plans, the Corporation has already merged the BBC News channel and its international counterpart BBC World News to create a new, more digitally focused channel.

As part of that move, broadcasters were invited to compete for a handful of chief presenting roles. Ten senior jobs were axed, with high-profile stars including Joanna Gosling choosing to quit.

Ms Busby’s letter – a copy of which has been seen by The Mail on Sunday – states: ‘As you will be aware, in 2022 we announced a number of changes across BBC News which have meant that some colleagues have been placed at risk of redundancy, including some colleagues in presenter roles.’

The letter, which was sent out at the beginning of this month, asks staff who ‘would like to consider potentially leaving the BBC under voluntary redundancy’ to arrange a meeting with senior HR executive Tim Burden.

A source in the newsroom, who asked not to be named, said: ‘The email is addressed to all senior news presenters and presenters on the band immediately below. Everyone got it on the same day.

‘Senior figures in TV news, including Huw Edwards, Sophie Raworth, Clive Myrie and Reeta Chakrabarti, have received the letter. It’s also been sent to the main presenters on Radio 4’s Today programme.’

The BBC, which hopes to avoid having to make compulsory redundancies, gave the presenters until last Friday to register their interest. Insiders say that it is uncertain if anyone has volunteered, not least because BBC redundancy payments are capped at £150,000.

Such a sum is unlikely to appeal to some of its highest-paid employees. Figures published by the Corporation last year show that Mr Edwards, who presents both the six o’clock and ten o’clock bulletins, earned between £410,000 and £414,000, although that represented a cut on the previous year.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the letter from Philippa Busby, the interim managing editor of news and current affairs has been sent to presenters such as Sophie Raworth (pictured)


The same figures showed that Ms Raworth was on between £305,000 and £309,999, and Mr Myrie on between £255,000 and £259,000.

One insider, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Busby’s email has a link to terms and conditions which includes the rule about redundancy payments being capped at £150,000.

‘For most people that is a considerable amount of money. But if you are in your early 50s and you are earning that each year – which most of these presenters are – it’s not such an attractive proposition.

‘That is particularly the case when the prospect of finding employment in the same sort of place is really difficult. Where would these people go?’

Mr Edwards, 61, received the letter despite recently signing a new three-year deal. Prior to this, there had been speculation he was planning to leave the BBC. No one within BBC News expects him to accept voluntary redundancy.

One BBC journalist, who also asked not to be named, described the redundancy letters as ‘depressing’ and said they added to the general atmosphere of ‘chaos’. Linking the letters to the reorganisation of the news channels, the source added: ‘No one knows if the new channel will last a month or a year.’

The BBC said: ‘We’re looking for expressions of interest in redundancy, not offering it, and it’s not the case that any or everyone who came forward would be accepted.’

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