Committee (6th Day)

Part of Digital Economy Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 3rd February 2010.

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Photo of Lord Howard of Rising Lord Howard of Rising - Shadow Minister (Also Shadow Minister for Treasury and Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Minister, Shadow Minister (Also Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Treasury), Culture, Media and Sport, - Shadow Minister (Also Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Minister 7:45 pm, 3rd February 2010

This amendment seeks clarity over what exactly the Government want this funding to be used for. In simple terms, I can understand, even if I do not agree with, the argument that this money will be used to provide a regional news broadcast on ITV. Where I am uncertain is how the Government believe that this will help the regional newspaper sector, as has been suggested. If the money is to be used to produce a half-hour bulletin of regional news, how does that help the printed media? They do not currently make such broadcasts, so the money will not go to cover their existing costs. If there is some possibility that newspapers involved in these IFNCs might be allowed to use the money to cross-subsidise their current operations and output, the Government need to be much clearer about this. There will be some very difficult competition issues to get around if one newspaper in an area uses public subsidy to compete with a local rival. It would be helpful if the Minister could explain what exactly the Government want to see the money used for. I beg to move.