I recognise the important role that commercial and community radio stations play in the communities they serve, and I congratulate my hon. Friend on the passage of his Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Act 2017. My Department provided funding for the successful trials of small-scale digital audio broadcasting across the UK, and we have now completed the consultation on detailed proposals for the licensing framework.
I thank the Minister for her answer. I welcome removing barriers to smaller community and commercial radio stations going digital, but can she advise on when she expects the new licensing system for small-scale multiplexes to be fully in place?
Having completed the consultation on the new licensing system, we are now working closely with Ofcom on the detailed arrangements, including spectrum planning, on which Ofcom has the lead. Our aim is to bring forward the secondary legislation required for the first stages next year.