BBC Asian Network safe for now

The BBC will not close the digital radio station, but will cut its budget by half.

The Asian Network, which is the most expensive of BBC's digital stations, costing around £8.9m last year, will not be closed as was originally intended. Instead it could face half its budget cut as the BBC attempts to make savings of £400m imposed by the coalition government.

The BBC's U-turn also comes as listening numbers peaked at 477 000 by the end of last year, and a decision by BBC executives that a national station was the best way to reach the Asian audience rather than a collection of local medium-wave stations.

The decision to keep the station will still need to approved by the BBC Trust later this year.