Local Press

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:23 am on 20th January 2009.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham 11:23 am, 20th January 2009

I look forward to next year, when the Conservative party will get into power, and I expect my local paper to be as critical in its scrutiny as it has been with the Labour Government.

Sometimes, there are controversial issues. Yesterday, I met the chief executive of Veolia to talk about an incinerator in my constituency—or a "waste to energy facility", as people like to call it nowadays. Such issues are complicated and emotional. People raise health issues, and it is the role of the local newspaper to try to crunch all the information and present it in the most effective way.

I agree with the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland, who secured the debate, about the need for Government to spend more money on local newspapers. I concur totally with the concerns that he raised about advertising spending having decreased significantly over the past six months. As a result, papers have, for example, had to cut the number of photographers whom they employ, because of the lack of advertising money. Obviously, I would put a caveat on that—I do not want any more Labour propaganda, which is spewed out all over the place in the media. However, it is good to put relevant campaigns through the local media.