Cross-party MPs call on government to support local journalists

Posted on: April 2, 2020 by Claire Meadows

A group of cross-party MPs have written to the government calling for further support for local newspapers during the Covid-19 crisis.

The letter, signed by 23 MPs including the Shadow Culture Secretary Tracy Brabin and Yvette Cooper MP and addressed to the Chancellor, echoes calls by the Yorkshire Post Editor James Mitchinson for the government to extend the 100% business rates holiday to news publishers and to invest in a significant public information campaign in local newspapers. 

It reads: “We are writing to you on behalf of the local media industry in general and the excellent publications that we all represent in our communities.

“We know that you will agree that the local media is essential to our democracy and as one of the most trusted sources of information for our constituents as well as challenging and holding us as politicians to account. In this time of crisis, not only is it vital that local newspapers are supported to provide information to people, but also to support those who are in isolation to keep in touch with their local communities.

The letter calls for the government to introduce a public information campaign through local media , saying that it would be particularly effective through such trusted vehicles, and “would help connect the government’s important advice to stay at home and save lives with people the government may not otherwise be reaching”.

The letter also calls for the extension of the 100% business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure to news publishers.

The letter is signed by the following:

Louise Haigh MP
Tracy Brabin MP
Rosie Winterton MP
Emma Hardy MP
Naz Shah MP
Clive Betts MP
Hilary Benn MP
Richard Burgon MP
Dan Jarvis MP
Stephanie Peacock MP
Alexander Stafford MP
Holly Lynch MP
Gill Furniss MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Diana Johnson MP
John Healey MP
Kevin Hollinrake MP
Karl Turner MP
Yvette Cooper MP
Paul Blomfeld MP
Olivia Blake MP
Sarah Champion MP
Rachael Reeves MP