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Cairncross Review - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:02 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Black of Brentwood Lord Black of Brentwood Conservative 5:02 pm, 12th February 2019

My Lords, I join my noble and learned friend in congratulating Dame Frances on producing a compelling report, which sets out both starkly and boldly the real commercial pressures which are facing all publishers. I declare my interest as deputy chairman of the Telegraph Media Group. Given the scale of the challenges and the punishing pace of change in the industry, which come over so clearly in this report, does my noble and learned friend agree with me that speed is now of the essence and that the most important thing is to move urgently to implement, where possible, some of the review’s major recommendations, particularly in areas such as VAT and taxation, which could bring immediate commercial benefit and allow publishers to invest in the quality investigative journalism that the report highlights?

In other areas, there is much for the CMA and Ofcom to undertake. Does my noble and learned friend believe that the CMA has the capacity to deal swiftly with issues surrounding the advertising market in view of its post-Brexit responsibilities, and does Ofcom have the powers needed to review the BBC online without the need for further legislative change?