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Updated: Wednesday 26 January 2011

BBC World Service to cut 650 Jobs

The BBC is to cut around 650 jobs from its World Service.

The BBC will close five language services – Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian; as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service.

• Portuguese for Africa – began 1939, broadcasts 11 hours a week to 1.5m
• Albanian – began 1940, broadcasts 17 hours a week to around 500,000
• English for the Caribbean – began 1976, broadcasts 2.75 hours a week to 850,000
• Serbian – began 1991, broadcasts 11.25 hours a week to 550,000
• Macedonian – began 1996, broadcasts 5.25 hours a week to 160,000

The cuts come as the coalition government plans to move funding for the World Service from the Foreign and Common Wealth Office budget to the Licence fee budget.

Peter Horrocks, BBC Global News Director said: “These closures are not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes. They are all extremely important to their audiences and to the BBC.

“It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the World Service’s Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and we need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact.”

Earlier this week, the BBC said it would cut about 200 websites and up to 360 jobs from its online department as part of a plan to reduce its budget by £34m.

Teen services Switch and Blast, and the 606 football forum are among the websites set to close.