All BBC orchestras and BBC Singers to stay open

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Newly published report recommends all ensembles continue but with ‘substantial savings’

All of the BBC’s performing groups are to continue but with a plan to make ‘substantial savings’, following the recommendations of a report published last week.

The review of the BBC’s orchestras and performing groups, compiled by John Myerscough, is part of the BBC’s Delivering Quality First strategy, which was launched following the government’s decision to freeze the licence fee until 2017.

As a result of Myerscough’s recommendations, Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio and Music, announced a plan to deliver savings of up to 10 per cent of the groups’ total budget, adding that potential savings of at least £2.1m per year by 2016/17 had been identified.

‘John Myerscough’s report recognises that the groups are a core part of the BBC’s public service remit,’ said Davie, ‘and that each one plays a unique role in British cultural life, delivering high-quality performances of distinctive repertoire and supporting education and outreach projects.’

He went on to say: ‘We considered the option of closing one of the groups, but concluded that this could not be achieved without significant loss of value to audiences.’

The report looked into the activities and contribution of the six BBC ensembles – the BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

As a result of the Delivering Quality First consultation, the BBC aims to save £700m by 2016/17.

Rosie Pentreath