Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 14:48 UK

Seventeen jobs to go at ITV Wales

ITV Wales studios in Cardiff
ITV Wales is cutting regional programming as income has fallen

Seventeen posts are being cut by ITV Wales as its parent company ITV News reduces regional services.

In all, there will be 429 redundancies among 1,075 staff across ITV News, all from regional news operations.

At the moment 130 people work at ITV Wales. Unions warned of possible industrial action, and politicians were urged to unite to oppose the cuts.

ITV News said volunteers were being sought, but it could not rule out compulsory redundancies.

The cuts are part of plans to save up to 40m a year by cutting regional news programmes, and ITV's Welsh news is to be reduced by a fifth.

Cutting jobs in Wales will only heighten this disparity in coverage and make it more difficult for people living in Wales to get information about politics and current affairs in their own country
Peter Black, Liberal Democrat AM

Last week it was announced ITV would be allowed to slash its Welsh programming by more than half because of the slump in income from advertising.

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom warns these changes could have a serious impact on the independent television sector in Wales.

'United front'

In July the company also announced some restructuring of jobs outside its news department in Wales, which a spokesman confirmed resulted in a net reduction of two jobs.

Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne asked the other parties in the assembly to present a "united front" to the UK government's culture minister over the cuts.

"These plans, along with recent cuts in the Welsh newspaper industry, have damaging consequences for the reporting of news and current affairs across a wide range of publications and broadcasters," said Mr Bourne.

"They restrict reader and viewer choice and in turn leave them less informed about life in a devolved Wales.

"All parties have an interest in minimising the impact of cuts such as these. While I accept that all too often they are driven by market forces, broadcasters and newspaper proprietors have a duty to inform their audience with the widest range of news and views possible."

Welsh Liberal Democrat culture and media spokesperson Peter Black said Ofcom "should have never allowed ITV to cut the amount of Welsh programming that it produces".

He said: "This is the apparent outcome of that decision."

"There is already a lack of media coverage of the assembly and of the devolution settlement from the London-based media.

"Cutting jobs in Wales will only heighten this disparity in coverage," added Mr Black.

Nerys Evans, a Plaid Cymru member of the assembly's broadcasting committee member said it was a serious blow to the industry in Wales.

"It is important Welsh audiences can see their own lives and culture reflected on TV, and it is essential that ITV Wales has the journalists to ensure that this happens," she said.

"I call on ITV to explain how they will adequately represent the people of Wales in their output following these cutbacks."

The news is the latest in a number of restructuring operations across the media sector in Wales.

On Monday, Trinity Mirror Group announced that from November the Cardiff-based evening newspaper, the South Wales Echo, will be published overnight from 3 November.

Last October it was announced 155 jobs were to be lost at BBC Wales - part of 2,500 post closures across the BBC to deal with a 2bn budget shortfall.


SEE ALSO
ITV News planning to cut 430 jobs
30 Sep 08 |  Business
ITV 'can cut' regional programmes
25 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
ITV to merge regional newsrooms
12 Sep 07 |  Business

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