BBC Trust to protect local radio

Lord Patten expected to lead rejection of BBC's planned cuts

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BBC Trust to protect local radio
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William Gallagher

Controversial plans to cut funding for BBC local radio could be shelved, following an avalanche of complaints to the BBC Trust.

Having reportedly received more complaints from the public about local radio cuts than any other BBC funding issue, the Trust is now expected to reject proposals that would see £15m savings and a loss of 280 jobs.

The plans are part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First (DQF) initiative, which is intended in total to save the corporation £700m a year.  

There are 40 BBC local radio stations, which collectively attract 7.25m listeners per week - but it's thought that under DQF, many of them would lose a quarter of their staff. In November, BBC director-general Mark Thompson admitted that "at the sharp end the numbers are daunting", while insisting that he did not want "to preside over the decline of local radio".

Lord Patten, the BBC Trust's chairman, is to speak on Wednesday at the Oxford Media Convention. The Trust says it will publish its final conclusions on Delivering Quality First in the spring, but aims "to provide an early indication of Trust thinking in January."

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