Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Cairncross Review - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:46 pm on 12th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Wales) 4:46 pm, 12th February 2019

Now your Lordships are rising to the bait, which I appreciate. It was, of course, the same newspaper in Llanelli—and in Llangennech and Llwchwr—but the front page was different. When somebody had moved out of a house, a boat had sunk, somebody had passed the 11-plus or there was to be a flower-arranging display in one of the local chapels, it was my job to tell the community about it.

Community cohesion is undergirded by an active press. None of us should simply take for granted that its disappearance will not have effects. How can the Government address this? The BBC has embedded reporters into local areas, which is brilliant. How much more of this can we hope to do? What about the idea of a regulator, which was picked out from the report by the press this morning? How effective will such a regulator be? What will his or her terms of reference be? Will there be teeth to the job that that person is asked to do?

There are so many questions, but above and beyond them is a very real concern. This is a matter which belongs to Parliament as a whole—and to bipartisan approaches—and is a real problem at a local level. I conclude my remarks by emphasising once again the levels of concern, the health of communities and the need for instruments such as a local newspaper to forge an identity for a locality. Burry Port was never Llangennech, and Llwchwr was never Llanelli, because the press helped us give expression to a real sense of identity. How on behalf of the Government will the Minister—and how will we as a Parliament—make practical proposals to achieve these noble ends?