Dilemma of BBC Wales Bosses as They Weigh Up Where to Wield Axe; CONCERNS 20% CUTS WILL THREATEN NATION'S STATUS AS A BROADCASTER

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Byline: MARTIN SHIPTON

TODAY we can reveal the full details of proposed cuts at BBC Wales that have led to claims it will no longer be able to function as a national broadcaster.

Documents leaked to the Western Mail show how BBC Wales managers are deeply concerned about the impact the cuts will have on the corporation's reputation if they go ahead.

They also include speculation about how the loss of individual programmes would be received by the Welsh public.

BBC Wales has been asked by bosses in London to draw up plans for 20% cuts in the wake of a freeze in the licence fee and new responsibilities to fund Welsh language channel S4C and the BBC World Service.

One of the leaked documents outlines proposed cuts for news and current affairs programmes, while another details proposed cuts in sports programming.

In news and current affairs, programmes like am.pm, the Politics Show, Eye on Wales, Wales at Work, Country Focus, and Week In Week Out could face the axe, as well as all political conference coverage. In addition, programmes produced by the BBC for S4C including Taro Naw, Ffeil and the Welsh language version of Question Time, Pawb a'i Farn, could be chopped, as well as severe reductions in Newyddion news bulletins.

Proposed cuts in sport could see big reductions in the coverage of football, rugby and minority sports, with live coverage of Wales international football matches ended, fewer rugby matches shown and cuts to big name pundits.

In many cases, BBC Wales managers talk of significant "reputational damage" if cuts go ahead.

The BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year programme is, however, described as a "struggling format", while the Welsh element of the Politics Show appears to be considered expendable as it is described as a show "always perceived as a vehicle better suited to English regions".

Shadow Wales Office Minister Owen Smith, the Labour MP for Pontypridd, said: "The leaked document which I've read in detail clearly shows that BBC Wales is being asked to make unreasonable cuts to its programming budget. …