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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 11:43 GMT
Paxman hits out at BBC news cuts
Jeremy Paxman
Paxman has hit out at plans to cut the current affairs budget
Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman has criticised the BBC's plans to make cuts in its news and current affairs budget.

Paxman told The Guardian he did not understand how the proposed 15% cuts could be justified given the BBC's plans to move staff to Manchester.

"I don't understand why it's necessary, particularly at a time when you can spend hundreds of millions building new buildings and moving staff," he said.

A BBC spokesperson declined to comment on Paxman's remarks.

BBC director general Mark Thompson announced details of the proposed job cuts and savings at the BBC in December 2004.

Quality

Most departments, including news, will be expected to make 15% cuts as savings, with around 2,900 jobs expected to be lost.

In the interview, given to mark the 25th anniversary of Newsnight, Paxman said he found it hard to see how such cuts would be made without affecting the quality of programmes.

"I think it would be very helpful to be told why these cuts are necessary and what sort of things the boss class would like to see removed from the output," he told The Guardian.

"I mean, if I was editor of the programme and I was told to make 15% cuts, I'd say 'fine, we'll go to four nights a week instead of five'. Frankly, reducing the number of staplers in the office isn't going to do it."

Paxman also said that the Hutton report, and the resignation of director general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies had been "very unsettling".

However, he spoke out in defence of journalist Andrew Gilligan's original story on the Iraq dossier.

"The issue came to be about all sorts of other things. But on the core issue there was clearly something there, and there was clearly unhappiness about the way intelligence was presented," he said.




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