Poulter backs calls for ministers to increase support for local news

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has supported calls for government support for l

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has supported calls for government support for local news. Picture PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has added his name to an all-party campaign in Westminster calling on the government to support local newspapers and websites’ work to bring communities together during the coronoavirus crisis.

Dr Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, is one of 40 parliamentarians who have signed the letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for more support for news organisations.

The signatories are from across the political spectrum – from former shadow chancellor John McDonnell to Conservatives Michael Fabricant and Robert Halfon.

Dr Poulter said “Our local press are some of the most trusted sources of news for our communities and we must support them in this challenging time.

“Local newspapers such as the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star play a vital role in reporting key messages, helping to communicate essential information and keeping local residents connected with what’s going on.

“They are vital to our efforts to respond and recover from the coronavirus and yet they are facing significant financial difficulties.

“This letter is about getting a fair share of government advertising spend for local and independent press, to reflect both their importance in our communities and their financial needs. The Secretary of State for Health has an important role in deciding where these advertising funds go.

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“It is essential to get valuable and timely information about coronavirus to people in every part of the country and I hope that the government will get behind this campaign, which is backed by MPs from all sides of Parliament.”

More on the coronavirus crisis

The government is supporting local newspapers by buying advertising – largely asking people to help in the ongoing battle with coronavirus and urging them to comply with the lockdown requirements.

And the work of local news organisations has been praised by ministers during the daily briefings on the coronavirus crisis – they have highlighted the work the industry has been doing to keep communities together at a time when people are not able to physically meet because of the constraints of social distancing during the lockdown.

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