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Closure of BBC recipe website cooks up storm in UK

[LONDON] A BBC plan to shut down its recipe website left Britons simmering Tuesday at the demise of a resource offering free tips on cooking everything from lemon drizzle cake to scrambled eggs.

Over 100,000 people have signed a petition opposing the mothballing of 11,000 recipes as part of a push to cut costs at the public service broadcaster.

Thousands also took to Twitter to protest.

"Can't imagine there is ANYONE in the UK who cooks who won't be upset," wrote user Olivia Crellin.

"Literally 90% of my dinners are from #bbcrecipes," added Aniqah C.

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A BBC spokeswoman insisted that while the website was being closed and no further recipes would be added, people would still be able to access existing ones.

But media reports suggested the recipes could become hard to find.

The broadcaster said in a statement that its online activities would now focus on "six flagship areas after a review to ensure they remain high quality and distinctive".

These include news, sport and "ideas" - arts, culture, history and science.

Other sites being closed include travel and some local news pages.

The BBC is under pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron's government to slim down as ministers implement a programme of biting austerity cuts.

Last week, culture secretary John Whittingdale published a long-awaited policy paper on the future of the BBC.

It indicated that online content should focus on "rigorous, impartial analysis of important news events and current affairs".

The cuts confirmed Tuesday come as part of £700 million (S$1.37 billion) in overall savings which the BBC must make by 2021/22.

The broadcaster has announced hundreds of job cuts in recent months.

The BBC is largely funded by the annual licence fee of £145.50 which every household watching live television has to pay.

However, the broadcaster's royal charter - which sets out its independence and how it operates - is up for renewal at the end of this year.

The terms of this are expected to be negotiated between the BBC and the government.


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