Local Press

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will establish an inquiry into the sustainability of local and regional news provision.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy)

Local and regional news is a crucial source of information for communities and a vital part of a healthy democracy. I understand local and regional news providers are facing challenges at the moment, as they adapt to new technology and a changing media landscape.

Earlier this month, we introduced a business rates relief for local newspapers in England. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-case-for-a-business-rates-relief-for-local-newspapers

The BBC is also working in partnership with the local news industry to support local journalism. Following consultation with providers of local journalism across the UK, the BBC in partnership with the News Media Association, will take forward a range of measures working with local media. More information is available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2017/bbc-news-media-association-partnership

As I set out at the Westminster Hall debate on local and regional news, on 30 March 2017, I do not believe a single inquiry is appropriate at this stage. The business rates relief and the BBC initiative are currently being implemented and we must see how these work in practice. However as I said during the debate, we are keeping this matter under constant review: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-03-30/debates/B069F48A-DFC6-48A8-A1BD-BA9AB827E5E9/LocalAndRegionalNews

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