BBC expects £140m operating surplus

The broadcaster is awaiting a busy summer of coverage.

New Statesman
The BBC will use its surplus on covering events such as the Diamond Jubilee. Photo: Getty Images

Leaked figures from the BBC show that the broadcaster is expecting an operating surplus of £140m for its latest financial year to the end of March 2012. The money will be spent on extra coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. 

The sum represents the amount left over from licence fee income after the cost of producing and distributing its TV, radio and online content has been taken into account.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC has to balance its books just like any other organisation. That said, if there is one year that we anticipate will be particularly expensive then it is prudent that we prepare for it.
 
"With the diamond jubilee and the Olympics we knew that 2012 would be such a year and have therefore delivered an underspend in the previous financial year so as to have a reserve to cover these extra costs."
 
The news will come as a blow to thousands of staff who are losing their jobs as part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First strategy. 2,000 jobs are expected to be axed, making savings of £800m. 
 
Meanwhile, unions Unite, Bectu and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will ballot over strike action in the next few weeks. NUJ members in London received an email this week from branch manager David Campanale criticising the "hokey cokey economics" of the BBC cuts.
 
Campanale said: "It seems like hokey cokey economics. You put your BBC staff in, you take your BBC staff out, in-out, in-out and you shake them all about. And you do the hokey cokey and the DG [director general] turns round and leaves. That's what it's all about."