BOROUGH Tory Stuart Penketh has pledged to support local newspapers from a new threat posed by the BBC.
The Parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port & Neston has written to the BBC Trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, asking them not to spend £23m a year on producing local video-on-demand news.
He argues it could kill off local papers across Britain as they try to cope with a tough advertising climate.
Mr Penketh said the Conservatives have a “much bolder vision” for local newspapers, one which would enable them to invest in local TV.
He explained: “Local TV is very poor in the UK, especially compared to the USA, and Conservatives want Ofcom to take all the steps it can to encourage the development of a genuinely local TV sector.
“Local newspaper groups would be ideal partners in any expansion of local TV in their areas and the result would be positive for local communities and businesses alike.
“The BBC should not be allowed to spend licence fee payers’ money on damaging existing local news services and stamping out fledgling competition in local television.
“In an increasingly difficult advertising market why should local newspapers have to face the additional threat of subsidised competition from the BBC? I don’t think they should.
“The Ellesmere Port Pioneer is an excellent newspaper.
“I don’t see why these excellent private enterprises should have to compete against the endless funds of the taxpayer funded BBC. It is anti-free trade.”