Shropshire Council backs Radio Shropshire as a “vital community service”
The future of BBC Radio Shropshire was the focus of Shropshire Council’s special Cabinet meeting yesterday (Thursday 27 October 2011).
Keith Barrow, Leader of the Council, called for the item to be discussed by senior councillors, following a letter he sent recently to the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, urging him to reconsider the decision to make major cuts to local radio stations.
Shropshire people turned out to the meeting to support their local radio station, and talked openly about the invaluable contribution that Radio Shropshire makes to the county and to the lives of the people who live here. One member of the public referred to Radio Shropshire as “the fourth emergency service”, as it has been vital particularly during times of crisis in communicating to local people about the important things that affect them.
The BBC is cutting its budget by 20% over the next five years, and one of the proposals on the table is reducing significantly the amount of local services, like Radio Shropshire.
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
“As I have said before, BBC Radio Shropshire is extremely important in holding public organisations like the council to account, and is a vital part of the democratic process. I felt that it was really important that Cabinet and members of the public had the opportunity to debate this freely, and the meeting confirmed how, for many people in our local communities, Radio Shropshire provides an essential link and helps overcome isolation and loneliness. As a result, we have agreed a range of actions the council is now going to take to support the aim of retaining BBC Radio Shropshire.
“The meeting highlighted the essential services that the station provides to all members of the community, in both emergency situations and as community support to vulnerable residents of the county. For many people in Shropshire – particularly the elderly and those in more isolated areas – their local BBC radio station is truly a lifeline and sometimes their only link to the rest of the community.
“I have agreed to write directly to the Chairman of the BBC Trust, asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the future of Radio Shropshire. I want to make BBC executives aware of the views of the council and the 300,000 constituents we represent. My Cabinet also pledged to support our local radio station wherever possible, by making local people more aware of this serious threat and what they can do about it by also making their voices heard.”
There is more information about the BBC proposals available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/consult/delivering_quality_first.shtml.
If you would like to make your views known on this issue you can make contributions through http://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/dqf/ . This is now open and runs until Wednesday 21 December 2011.