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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
'Tough fight' over TV news scheme
Michael Grade
MPs met Mr Grade over plans to merge newsrooms
MPs from the south of Scotland and Cumbria have met ITV Chairman Michael Grade to voice concerns about proposals for the future of news operations.

ITV hopes to reduce its number of regional newsrooms from 17 to nine.

It has prompted concerns that the Border TV area would have news provided from either Glasgow or Newcastle rather than its present base in Carlisle.

The company has said the current set-up is not sustainable and the changes would deliver improved programming.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell said after the meeting that he believed the politicians had made clear their concerns to Mr Grade.

We have a tough fight on our hands to retain Border, but it is one which must be fought for the sake of getting this area any local TV news coverage at all
David Mundell MP

"Neither of the options he is clearly considering for the south of Scotland being put in with either Tyne Tees in Newcastle or STV in Glasgow is attractive," he said.

"Both would spell the end of Border TV as we have known it over the past 50 or so years.

"Mr Grade argues that ITV itself might not survive if these changes are not made, but I find it difficult to accept that the costs relative to continuing with Border TV would be significant in that scenario."

Mr Mundell said the case would now be taken to regulator Ofcom which is launching a consultation on the future of ITV regional news.

"We have a tough fight on our hands to retain Border, but it is one which must be fought for the sake of getting this area any local TV news coverage at all," he said.

Borders Lib Dem MP Michael Moore recently lodged an Early Day Motion at Westminster about the plans.

He claimed the move contradicted ITV's public service obligations.

SEE ALSO
TV news fear taken to Westminster
11 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
ITV to merge regional newsrooms
12 Sep 07 |  Business

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