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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Fears for ITV programmes in Wales
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Observers fear Ofcom's plan will see a cut in ITV programmes in Wales
Concerns are being raised about the future role of ITV in Wales.

The communications watchdog Ofcom has published its proposals which observers say could bring a cut in the number of programmes made in Wales.

Plaid Cymru have called the plans "a disgrace" and a Labour AM warns they mean ITV1 Wales could shut by 2012.

ITV1 Wales - formerly HTV Wales - said it would be consulting with Ofcom over the next two months about its programme output.

Ofcom proposes to allow ITV companies in the English regions to cut their output by one-and-a-half hours a week.

We need a strong competitor to the BBC, and only ITV can provide that
Leighton Andrews AM

It has not given a figure for Wales or Scotland but observers fears its proposals could lead to similar cuts in Wales.

Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood, claimed the report gives ITV "permission to start massive cutbacks".

The party's parliamentary media spokesperson, Simon Thomas MP, said: "This report causes great concern not only to the hundreds of workers at ITV1 Wales, whose jobs now appear to be at risk, but also to the future of Welsh broadcasting.

"ITV1 Wales makes an extremely valuable contribution to both Welsh-language and English-language broadcasting in Wales and its demise would be a tragedy for the nation."

'Consultation'

Labour's Leighton Andrews, AM for Rhondda, said he was 'worried about the possibility that we might lose ITV's Welsh programmes completely over the next decade'.

He said: "We need a strong competitor to the BBC, and only ITV can provide that."

In a statement, ITV said: "These are proposals - there will be consultation over the next two months.

"The Ofcom report states that ITV in the English regions could reduce its output by one-and-a-half hours a week, but no figure was given for Wales or Scotland."




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