Under plans announced this week by the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-63455192), local news coverage is set to more than halve on BBC Radio Cumbria. There will be no local news after 2pm on weekdays, and none at all at weekends. Instead, local listeners will be served a mix of national and regional shows.
Reacting to the news, Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said:
“I am dismayed by the planned cuts to local news on BBC Radio Cumbria, and across the BBC’s local radio stations. There is no doubt they will fundamentally undermine a vital local service.
“BBC Radio Cumbria has been the voice of the county for 50 years, covering all sorts of events, featuring thousands of local people telling Cumbria’s story. They are the ‘go to’ source of information for local people when we have emergencies in the county. And of course, they hold councils like us to account as well.
“Slashing BBC Radio Cumbria’s local coverage would be a massive blow.
“I will be writing to the Secretary of State Michelle Donelan to express my strong opposition to these plans. I will also be asking her to compensate the BBC for the two-year freeze in the licence fee introduced by Nadine Dorries in January, and to reverse the Government’s decision to abolish the licence fee altogether in 2027.
“The BBC is an asset to the country and to the county. We need a strong local media that can cover the local stories that matter to people. These plans cut our local BBC in half and I believe must be challenged.”