Local MP Alex Cunningham appealed to the people of Teesside to fight for their local radio station and local current affairs programmes as BBC Tees faces cuts of 20%- significantly higher than the national average of 12%.
It is estimated that if such destructive cuts are made to BBC Tees, the average weekly output made by staff at BBC Tees will be reduced by almost half. This comes at a time when listening figures for local radio are actually on the rise, largely down to local radio catering to an audience commercial stations don’t normally cater for.
Alex took the campaign for local and regional services to Parliament when he spoke in a Westminster Hall debate, suggesting that if cuts are really necessary to the BBC then they should hit international trips by large teams of journalists and support staff which come at a huge cost to the tax payer and often involve duplication in staffing.
“That these cuts to local radio are being bracketed under the BBC’s ‘Delivering Quality First Agenda’ is outrageous. BBC Tees and regional television programmes such as ‘Inside Out’ are at the forefront of investigative journalism, holding local people to account and giving a voice to local communities so often ignored.
“I am immensely concerned that the BBC Tees is being disproportionately hit with a cut to a fifth of its budget. In the future it will be impossible for the organisation to investigate important issues that specifically affect my constituents and those throughout the north east. This is simply not a fair deal for either BBC Tees or its audience’.