Scarborough councillor says proposed cuts to BBC local radio another ‘nail in the coffin’

Cllr Subash Sharma has said that proposed cuts to local BBC radio programming would be “another commitment lost to local democracy”.

The BBC has announced that it will be cutting 48 roles from local radio stations in England alongside plans for shared programming across stations after 2pm on weekdays.

There would be 10 “local programmes across England” between 6pm and 10pm on weekdays, across the day on Saturday, and Sunday mornings.

Cllr Subash Sharma

A national “all-England” programme will be launched after 10pm across the week and on Sunday afternoons and evenings

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that in the afternoons, York will share its programming with Leeds and Sheffield.

As part of the plans, there would still be dedicated local programming from all stations between 6am and 2pm.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We are committed to bringing audiences their favourite local output and we’ll continue to do so.

“We’ll confirm our programme plans for future schedules in due course.”

Cllr Sharma said that local media was “critical to creating a community” and added that proposed cuts could create “a vacuum”.

The Labour councillor, who is chairman of Scarborough Council’s Planning Committee, said the vacuum had been filled by social media and “really truculent people whose only job is to create uncertainty.”

He added: “But because there have been no real facts coming from anywhere, they get away with it.

“I’ve also seen, over the last three-and-a-half years, things happening in public forums which are just not reported.”

Cllr Sharma added that the planned cuts would be “another nail in the coffin” of local accountability and said it would be “another commitment lost to local democracy”.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC’s director of nations, said “The plans will help us connect with more people in more communities right across England, striking a better balance between our broadcast and online services and ensuring we remain a cornerstone of local life for generations to come.”

The BBC has said that “the changes will see around £19m reprioritised from broadcast services towards online and multimedia production, to keep pace with changing audience expectations”.

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