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    The BBC has announced a number of measures to deal with an expected budget shortfall of $4 billion, including the laying off around 2500 staff and the sale of its west London TV center by 2013.

    LONDON, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - The BBC has announced a number of measures to deal with an expected budget shortfall of $4 billion, including laying off around 2,500 staff and the sale of its west London TV center by 2013.

    The cuts, which include job losses and a news room merger, were greeted by unions and staff with anger and threats of strike action.

    Other money-saving measures include plans to broadcast more repeats and to cut by 10% the amount of programs produced in-house. More emphasis is to be placed on light-entertainment shows produced by outside companies.

    The BBC's TV center was opened in 1960, and was the corporation's first purpose-built centre for television production.

    Unions are outraged by the measures saying the BBC "must withdraw these plans....or face the potential of strike action," said Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists. Two years ago 11,000 staff walked out in protest over 3,780 job cuts.

    BBC Director General Mark Thompson said the steps were needed as the BBC was facing less license funding over the next few years, but reassured staff that news and quality programs would continue to be made.

    Thompson told staff Thursday: "BBC News is, and will remain, the cornerstone of the whole organization. News content will go up, not down, over the coming years."

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