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FARRON DEMANDS GOVERNMENT STEP IN TO PROTECT BBC RADIO CUMBRIA

October 6, 2011 4:39 PM

TF KendalSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today called on Jeremy Hunt to step in and reverse the proposed cuts to BBC Radio Cumbria announced in the Delivering Quality First review of the BBC's output.

In the plans outlined today, local radio stations like BBC Radio Cumbria will have their budget slashed outside peak time programming, with more sharing of programmes in the afternoon and evening.

Figures from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) show that BBC RadioCumbria, which is facing a cut of 4.2%, is more listened to in our area than BBC Radio 4, which has had it's budget secured.

As a consequence of the BBC's proposals it is estimated the cuts will mean the equivalent of the station losing 9 staff.

BBC local radio will see a drop in funding equivalent to £5.3 million. BBC RadioCumbriais listened to by 4 out of 10 people throughout the county according to the latest statistics.

Speaking after the announcement, Tim said, "I think this news is awful and shows BBC bosses in a very bad light. To me this feels like London elitism of the worst kind. They have agreed to protect Radio 4's budget whilst slashing the budget of a much loved and valued local service. We rely on it for news, comment, entertainment and up to date information about weather, events and travel in Cumbria. In the floods that ravaged our county only a couple of years ago I knew Radio Cumbria would report on the disaster like every other one they have had to deal with; with compassion, heart and a real love for the community they serve. Our local radio station is a pillar in our community and I will do all I can to continue to fight for it."