Shadow Transport Secretary Calls For ‘Respect’ For Journalism

The public have “relied heavily” on local news media to “cut through the noise and hold decision makers to account” during the coronavirus pandemic, Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon has said.

The MP for Oldham West & Royton said that he hoped a respect for “independent and well resourced journalism as a critical part of our democracy” would come out of the crisis.

The Labour Party has pressed Government for a business rates holiday for news media amid concerns about the future of titles which have seen advertising revenues squeezed during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the Treasury, reported by The Express and Star, Shadow Leader of the House Valerie Vaz highlighted “the lack of financial support” that news publishers have received during the pandemic.

“I am calling for an extension of the one-year business rates holiday for the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors to newspaper publishers, in line with Scotland,” she said.

“It is time for the Government to step up and provide news publishers with the support they need. This is an avoidable crisis and the Chancellor must act now to protect this critical industry.”

She also raised the issue during business questions quoting News Media Association figures which show ad revenues have dropped by up to 80 per cent for some publishers.