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Local Newspapers — [Mrs. Janet Dean in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:49 pm on 13th January 2010.

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Photo of Siôn Simon Siôn Simon Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media and Sport 3:49 pm, 13th January 2010

I shall take the right hon. Gentleman's remark on the chin, with thanks.

The debate has tended to be about council free sheets rather than local newspapers and the tremendous pressures that they are under. The tendency has been to assume that free sheets constitute a serious pressure on commercial local newspapers. We clearly do not know to what extent that is the case. We do not know exactly how many, but 60-something council free sheets are taking paid advertising out of a total of 420 local authority newspaper areas. However, we do not have good evidence to show the prevalence of the practice.