Newspaper Redundancies

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 2nd March 2009.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2:30 pm, 2nd March 2009

I certainly share my hon. Friend's concern about, as she puts it, the erosion of the work force at a local level. I do not think that there is a constituency represented in the House that has not seen some pressure on its local newspapers as a result, obviously, of the cyclical pressures in the economy and, perhaps more importantly, the structural change in the media industry. Lots of advertising spend is migrating away from press towards other advertising. Those are the real issues that we have to address. I gave her a commitment that I would meet the National Union of Journalists parliamentary group to discuss that, and I believe that we now have a date set for that meeting.

I believe that those issues are of the most profound importance, because they affect the health of democracy at a local level. We need to come forward with proposals to ensure that there are high-quality training and media at a local level across all media. As part of the "Digital Britain" process, we have an ability to place focus on that issue to raise it up the agenda, because to be frank it does not often get a good airing in this place. By doing so, we can develop proposals to help to sustain local media into the future.

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