Council opposes proposed cuts to radio station

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COUNCILLORS in Sheffield are expected to pass a motion criticising planned cuts to the BBC which could see local programming on Radio Sheffield reduced from 16 hours a day to nine hours and an end to guaranteed local commentary on our teams’ away football matches.

The National Union of Journalists estimates that eight of the station’s 45 staff could be made redundant.

A motion opposing ‘disproportionate’ cuts to local radio - when spending by the BBC on coverage of events such as the Proms is being increased - is proposed by the council’s opposition Lib Dem group.

It is likely to receive cross-party support.

Group leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “Broadcasters like BBC Radio Sheffield provide a public service to Sheffielders which cannot be replaced.

“That’s why Liberal Democrats believe the council should throw its full weight behind the campaign against the disproportionate cuts they are facing.

“We understand all public sector organisations have to reduce costs. However, I don’t think it’s fair some sections of the BBC based in London see an increase to their budget whist other regional sections are facing disproportionate cuts.

“It’s vitally important we get the message across to the BBC Trust during their consultation. The council should do everything possible to get a fair deal for Sheffield.”

Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour MP Angela Smith is calling for a debate in Parliament to discuss the future of local radio and call for less severe cuts than planned.