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Local Radio

Volume 981: debated on Thursday 27 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the British Broadcasting Corporation concerning its new style of local radio mini stations.

The BBC's plans for local radio were discussed in the Home Office local radio working party on 29 February.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the BBC has at last announced that Northampton is to have its station, but not until the end of 1982? Will he ensure that the Home Office working party makes an early announcement about the future of ILR stations and includes Northampton on the list?

I am aware that the BBC expects that the station will be opened during 1982. The question of ILR stations in Northampton and elsewhere is a matter for the IBA. That body will consider representations in support of ILRs and will take them into account before putting proposals to the working party.

What is the point of increasing local mini broadcasting stations at a time when the BBC is cutting programmes on its own radio and, in Suffolk, cutting television programmes considerably?

I am not sure what my hon. Friend means by local mini stations. However, the issue is for the BBC. It must make its decisions and then propose them.