Valerie asks about BBC local radio funding

An Urgent Question was tabled asking the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to make a statement on reductions in BBC local radio provision.

On Monday 31 October, the BBC announced that they would cut about 139 jobs from local radio. BBC local radio stations provide a vital source of information for communities, including BBC Radio West Midlands which is listened to by people from across Walsall South. 

The National Union of Journalists described the announcement as the “biggest threat facing local radio since it launched in 1967”.

I asked the Minister:

“Local radio was brilliant when it questioned the previous Prime Minister. Can the Minister reassure the House that this is not a done deal, and can she update the House on her discussions with the director-general?”

The Minister responded

“I thank the right hon. Lady for raising those interviews with the previous Prime Minister. That has since led to a regular section on the Radio 4 “Today” programme where local radio stations are making a specific contribution to what is a national broadcasting programme, allowing us to get a much better flavour of what is going on across the country, and of the different opinions that regional and local news providers have on those national stories. That is where the value of the BBC really comes into play, and I really hope that that does not wither on the vine.”