SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has secured a commitment from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to raise proposed cuts to programming and staff at BBC Radio Foyle directly with the broadcaster’s leadership at the earliest opportunity.
The Foyle MP raised BBC Northern Ireland’s proposals to cut the flagship Breakfast Show and news bulletins from the station’s programming as well as a significant proportion of news staff at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“Yesterday BBC Northern Ireland announced cuts to flagship programming and jobs at BBC Radio Foyle that are designed, in my view, to make the station unsustainable and pave the way for a shutdown of the service.
“Highly skilled local journalists providing a public service are facing losing their jobs and people across the North West are going to lose a vital public service without immediate intervention. That is why I raised the issue with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons this afternoon and I am pleased that he has now committed to raising the issue with the leadership of the BBC at the earliest opportunity.
“The BBC charter places a duty on the organisation to ensure that audiences can engage fully with local and regional issues. This decision is a very clear breach of that obligation. It is critical that the decision is opposed at every level and the SDLP will continue to gather a coalition of opposition to the proposals.”