Channel 4 has axed news bulletin News at Noon and More 4 News to strengthen its focus on its flagship 7pm news programme.

ITN staff were alerted to the plan in an internal meeting at lunchtime today. C4 News technology correspondent Benjamin Cohen was among staff reporting the news via his Twitter at 2pm with the message: “Grim staff meeting. News at Noon and More4 News cancelled. Wonder how it will be reflected on-screen tonight.”

More4 News anchor Alex Thomson, who will continue with C4 News, also commented: “Sad news. We are slump victims like so many others out there.”

Speculation had been growing for some time about the future of More4’s 8pm bulletin, which clashes with the +1 broadcast of the 7pm main C4 bulletin (pictured).

C4 has confirmed that ITN staff are now in talks about their positions and said the shows will end towards the end of this year. Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who fronts News at Noon, will remain with C4 News.

C4 will continue to air a short summary bulletin at lunchtime and will invest extra resources in news online, particularly for politics news.

C4 said in a statement that it wanted to preserve the “reach and impact” of C4 News in a cost-effective way.

 “These changes come against a backdrop of a severe economic slowdown,” it said. “We are endeavouring to maximise efficiencies whilst maintaining quality and have had to make the tough but necessary decision to prioritise and protect our award-winning evening news programme.

“Under the terms of the revised deal, Channel 4 will continue to broadcast the same number of hours of news in peak. In addition, Channel 4 is investing extra resources in news online to create an improved political news services.

“To afford this investment at a time when the advertising downturn is forcing Channel 4 to cut its programme budget, we need to find efficiencies elsewhere in our news budget and have decided to cut More4 news and News at Noon, although we do intend to offer a short summary bulletin at lunchtime.”