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Tim Farron

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MP says BBC bosses in danger of losing the trust of the county if they push through cuts

January 5, 2012 10:16 AM

TF KendalSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today told BBC Director General Mark Thompson that they will be in danger of losing the 'hard won trust' of the people of the county if they continue to push for major cuts in much loved services like BBC Radio Cumbria.

The BBC Trust launched a formal consultation last October to give the public the chance to make their opinions known about the future of the BBC. Under their plans, BBC Radio Cumbria has fared worse than most radio stations with a 20 per cent budget reduction.

Under the proposals, BBC Radio Cumbria will lose 9.4 FTE (full time equivalent) posts. Because of the budget saving this represents, the National Union of Journalists believes that it is likely that 12 or 13 members of staff could lose their jobs - around a third of the station's workforce. The station would also lose at least 50 hours of local programming every week as it is forced to share more programming with other local radio stations.

In a letter the Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson said: "I know how highly the people of Cumbria value BBC Cumbria, and I do of course realise that any proposed changes to our services will have an impact on audiences."

Commenting this morning Tim said: "A new year offers BBC bosses a new start. I hope they pick up my New Year message - do not slash BBC Radio Cumbria. Our county would be lost without the vital up-to-date information it has provided residents during terrible events such as the Cumbria floods, the Grayrigg crash and the Foot and Mouth disaster that were all delivered with a deep understanding and love for the community they serve. Our community has joined in their consultation in good faith and has made itself heard, loudly and clearly that we want the service to continue. BBC bosses must listen and protect it."