Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 13:43 UK

ITV West Country staff to be axed

ITV West Country
ITV West Country's base at Langage in Plymouth will close

Staff at the ITV West Country news programme have been told about half of them will lose their jobs in a cost-cutting drive.

The job losses were announced after plans by ITV to cut its regional news programmes across the country were approved by media regulator Ofcom.

The main news programme will move to Bristol and the headquarters at Langage in Plymouth, where 90 work, will close.

The cuts, to take place in spring 2009, come as advertising revenues decrease.

Although there is pain, ultimately we will have a really strong news service that will better serve viewers in the South West
Jane McCloskey, ITV West and West Country controller

John Andrews, National Union of Journalists spokesman at ITV West Country, said: "It's hugely sad. We are seeing the end of broadcasting here in the South West."

As part of a restructuring plan, the broadcaster plans to cut its newsrooms around the UK from 17 to nine.

ITV West Country, which serves Devon and Cornwall, is being merged with ITV West which serves the Bristol area.

A total of 84 jobs are expected to be lost in Bristol and Plymouth.

A separate, limited news bulletin for each area will still be maintained within the new super-region, served by satellite bases in Exeter, Barnstaple, Taunton and either Truro or Falmouth.

Jane McCloskey, ITV West and West Country controller, said the plan would create "one really strong news programme".

"Although there is pain, ultimately we will have a really strong news service that will better serve viewers in the South West."

A total of 430 jobs are expected to go across the broadcaster's regional news services.

In 2007 ITV News announced a cost-cutting programme aimed at saving 40m a year.

The plans do not affect ITV's News at Ten, which is produced by ITN and is funded separately.

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