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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Border TV carries on as licence renewed

An MP has welcomed the news that ITV Border is to keep broadcasting after having its licence renewed on the current transmission boundaries.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the Government has agreed that ITV’s Public Service Broadcasting licences should be renewed for a full ten-year term from their expiry at the end of 2014.

This decision paves the way for the final phase of the renewal process, which is overseen by regulator Ofcom, to go ahead.

There were concerns that STV would take the southern Scotland area from ITV Border, making Border unviable in the medium term.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has been working with the National Union of Journalists to lobby ministers about this decision, especially in the light of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

He also wrote a letter to the Government which was co-signed by fellow Cumbrian MPs John Stevenson, Carlisle; Jamie Reed, Copeland; Sir Tony Cunningham, Workington and Rory Stewart, Penrith and the Border, asking the government to protect ITV Border.

The evidence that Ofcom reviewed showed that while there was a desire for more local news, especially Scottish news and current affairs, the Border service was valued by its viewers. Using that evidence Mr Farron has called on ITV to agree to provide more local news content in bulletins like Lookaround.

He said: “It is great news for Cumbrians that Ofcom has agreed with us about the value of ITV Border. For the last 18 months

“I have been pressing the Government to make a firm commitment to the station and to agree to keep our news local.

“I’m now challenging ITV bosses to use this security to provide even more local news and TV output from Cumbria,” added Mr Farron.

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