Summer Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of John Grogan John Grogan Labour, Keighley 2:39 pm, 25th July 2019

My hon. Friend makes a good point. There is express provision for such a review in the Planning Act 2008, so it would not be difficult.

I move on quickly to early-day motion 2650, which is about commercial local radio and Bauer. Although it stands only in my name at the moment, I am confident that at least a dozen MPs will sign it overnight. It deals with an important issue of commercial local radio, to which two things have happened in recent years. The market has consolidated: Global and Bauer now own over half the market. Furthermore, Ofcom has weakened the regulations so that local radio stations now have to have only three rather than seven hours of local content on a weekday and local content can come from regional centres; it need not come from the area of the franchise.

Bauer is trying to buy over 30 local radio stations in four different groups. The good news is that yesterday the Competition and Markets Authority stood up to it and said that there was a clear competition case to answer. There will be a phase 2 investigation of these possible purchases of Bauer’s. The fear must be that local advertisers will be taken out of the market, all the advertising will become national and Bauer will follow Global in closing local studios; Global has already closed 10 local studios. If the purchases go through, Bauer will own exactly 80% of the Yorkshire commercial local radio market: 16 of 20 stations. I fear for stations such as Stray FM, which covers part of Keighley constituency. I fear that, ultimately, programmes will be made just from Leeds and London.

The third early-day motion to which I want to draw attention, Mr Deputy Speaker, may be to your taste: it is to do with cricket and football World cups and free-to-air TV. It is EDM 2608. One thing that the retiring Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport did in his last few days in office was to announce for the first time in about 20 years additions to the list of events that must be shown on free-to-air TV. He said that he wanted a consultation on future women’s World cups and future women’s FA cup finals and that they should be listed just as the men’s events are. Some 11 million people were inspired by the football World cup this year, and that will now also be true for future women’s football World cups: women will have equal status with men when it comes to great sporting events. The right hon. and learned Gentleman also suggested that the Paralympics should be added. I would like his successor to go further and to add the cricket. We cannot just have one game every 15 years, courtesy of Sky and its owners Comcast—at the very least, England internationals in the cricket World cup and in the T20s, as in Australia, should be free to all the nation, to inspire them.

Finally, I want to preface an early-day motion that is not yet on the Order Paper but will be in September. It is to do with the private security industry. One of the great benefits of being an MP is that, courtesy of Mr Speaker, we can see in the new year on the Terrace. I was coming to do that last year and met Mr Michael Thompson, who turned out to be from Keighley. He was outside the Palace. I kept in touch with him over the months that followed. He told me that the firm he was working for, 24/7 Security, have not paid a lot of people—not just on that occasion but on others, including the Leeds festival and so on. The security industry is very heavily regulated for the individual security guards but not when it comes to the contracting companies. Under the Private Security Industry Act 2001, there is provision to have such regulation of the contracting companies. I hope that, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Act, we will review the situation.

Finally, I wish you a happy summer holiday, Mr Deputy Speaker. Particularly in view of the county of your loyalty, I wish you a happy Yorkshire Day on 1 August next week.