Dame Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport and Chair of the Culture, Media & Sport Committee, has today challenged the Minister for Media, Tourism & Creative Industries on BBC cuts to local radio.
The BBC has proposed cuts to local radio, reducing broadcasts particularly in evenings and weekends. This has significant impact on the elderly and vulnerable who are less able to use digital alternatives to receive their local, trusted news sources.
This is an issue of particular concern to the Culture, Media & Sport Committee, which has been chaired by Caroline since May. They have raised the issue in inquiry sessions with the Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Lucy Frazer.
Speaking in DCMS Questions, Caroline said:
“Local radio is such a lifeline to many of the elderly, vulnerable and isolated people in our communities.
“I wonder what the Minister’s view is as to what the public service in the BBC’s public service remit actually means.
“Shouldn’t it include reaching everyone with local news and information, and not just those who are digitally enabled?”
The Minister for Media, Tourism & Creative Industries, Sir John Whittingdale said:
“Many people still value local radio and will regret and be very concerned about the reduction in output of local radio that the BBC proposed, particularly in evenings and weekends.”