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FT consults journalists about voluntary redundancies

LONDON – The Financial Times has raised the spectre of editorial cuts as it consults journalists about the possiblity of early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

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LONDON – The Financial Times has raised the spectre of editorial cuts as it consults journalists about the possibility of early retirement or voluntary redundancy.The FT's editor Andrew Gower sent a memo to editorial staff on Tuesday asking whether they would consider these options under a scheme that could become into effect early next year.

An FT spokeswoman said that the memo was written in response to enquiries from journalists about the possibility of such a scheme.

"We have not offered such a scheme this year and we are testing the water to see if there is any interest in a small scale scheme next year," she said.

The last time the FT made editorial redundancies was in 2001, when 20 staff departed in a voluntary scheme.

The latest talk of redundancy comes during a quarter in which the FT is set to return to break-even, according to a trading statement issued earlier this month by the FT's owner Pearson. The newspaper made a £32m loss in 2003, which Pearson expects to reduce by £20m this year.

However, an uncertain advertising picture means that the impetus of the recovery may peter out. Advertising revenues for the latest quarter are up only 2% year on year, and technology and B2B advertising remain weak.

A saving of £400,000 could be made by closing the FT's media supplement Creative Business, which has been under review. The spokeperson said: "We are still looking at Creative Business."

Speculation is that the supplement, which attracts little advertising, could close.

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