NUJ leak

There are hints this evening that management’s position is even more shaky than previously suspected. The NUJ has apparently got hold of an internal BBC document that suggests the deficit is much smaller than has been suggested until now – in fact, less than a billion pounds (compared to the 2 billion that Mark Thompson originally advertised, and was apparently the reason why the BBC had to take “draconian” action). We’ll have to see how this one plays out, but if it’s true the consequences would be dramatic. I don’t think the BBC could sustain it’s current proposals if it was shown they had been knowingly misleading us about the size of the deficit. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that they would have gone down such a ruinous route. Watch this space…

Update: There are suggestions that the leaked document could be an early draft of the 2010 valuation – which would explain a lot. Mark Thompson may not have been aware of the figure until very recently – otherwise he might not have made his promise to revisit the whole pensions settlement if the deficit comes in at less than £1 billion.

(Quick reminder: the interim deficit was put at “about £2 billion”, but this was based on a valuation at March 2009 – the very bottom of the market crash. The full valuation will be based on March 2010, and is being worked on now. It’s been noticeable that Mark T has recently rowed back from the 2 billion figure, and has been talking about 1.5 billion. Now if it’s less than a billion we’re into a completely different ball game . How can the BBC justify its assault on our benefits if the deficit is less than half the original figure?)

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