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Labour Group Leader Sue Oliver protests at cuts to BBC Local Radio

Bedford Borough Labour Group Leader, Sue Oliver, is one of 90 local authority Labour Group Leaders to sign a letter to Tim Davie, BBC Director General, objecting to the proposed cuts to local radio output by the BBC.

The BBC announced the cuts on 31st October. All 39 networks in England, including BBC Three Counties Radio, will keep their current schedule from 6am to 2pm, but after that shows will be shared.

The BBC has defended the loss of 48 local radio jobs, stating that it is creating 11 investigative reporting teams across the country, focusing on key local issues across TV, radio and online. It also said it would deliver "a wider range of local audio programming through BBC Sounds".

In the letter, Labour Group Leaders voiced their concern about the potential impact the cuts to programming will have on the communities they represent who value the vital public service. Cllr Sue Oliver said, “BBC local radio plays a vital role in the democratic process, reporting on local elections and ensuring listeners know who represents them. These proposals represent a watering down of truly local reporting.”

Mohammad Yasin MP for Bedford and Kempston said; “I agree with Sue Oliver and the other Labour Group leaders about this. Local radio is key to what the BBC does best, and many people in Bedford rely on local radio to keep up to date with news in their area - news that might otherwise not be reported. You can’t originate local news stories properly unless you have journalists living and working in the area they cover. It will be a tragedy if we lose that local service so important to the transparency and accountability at the heart of a healthy democracy. “

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