Rotherham MP Sarah Champion meets BBC bosses over local radio cuts

SARAH Champion challenged BBC bosses on how cuts to local radio will affect places like Rotherham.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion (right) in a meeting at parliamentRotherham MP Sarah Champion (right) in a meeting at parliament
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion (right) in a meeting at parliament

The MP said listeners would lose out on valuable local programming as a result of the changes, with combined schedules across Sheffield, York and Leeds meaning a reduction in weekday shows from 39 to 20.

Ms Champion also raised the “significant” impact on journalists, whose jobs could be lost.

The Rotherham MP, who joined the picket outside Radio Sheffield in July, added: “This week in parliament, I challenged senior representatives from the BBC on the lack of public consultation on these changes.

“It is unacceptable for a publicly funded body to reduce services without speaking to those who will be directly affected.

“I am also concerned that the equality impacts have not been properly considered, from those with accessibility issues losing vital radio programmes, to older people and those in digital poverty being denied access to the digital world.

“Imagine the difference in their life if your elderly parent became unable to access local BBC content.”

She added: “The BBC need to think long and hard about these cuts. They need to listen to their own employees and to local people when we say this is not what we want. I am proud to continue to give my support to the journalists fighting against these cuts.”

The BBC says the cuts are needed because of a lack of funding, admitting the changes are difficult and unpopular but insisting they are the “right thing” to do.