Axing BBC TV news from Cambridge 'a backward step' says MP

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner opposes the axing of regional TV news output from the BBC at its studio in the city

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner opposes the axing of regional TV news output from the BBC at its studio in the city - Credit: BBC

The BBC is to end regional TV news output from its Cambridge studio.

It is one of the cuts announced today by the BBC in briefings across the country to its staff.

BBC news and current affairs senior journalist Simon Hare tweeted that “all BBC England staff are being given details now of changes planned by senior management.

“They include the scrapping of regional TV opts in Oxford and Cambridge, end of We Are England current affairs TV show after one more series and more programme sharing across BBC local radio.”

The Cambridge studio's output is broadcast throughout Cambridgeshire, northern Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and north-west Essex.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner described cuts to regional TV programming as a “mistake” and he’s urged the BBC to think again. 

The BBC will end regional news broadcasting from Cambridge and merge the programme with output from Norwich.

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Mr Zeichner believes this is “a backward step and will not please viewers”.

He said: “I understand the pressure that the BBC is under but the essence of local news is that it is local. And this is a step backwards.

“Cambridge and the area surrounding it is the fastest growing region in the country, with real interest in local stories.”

He added: “In Parliament, I and others are busy making the case for the East and BBC News is one of the key building blocks giving people an understanding of the issues in our area.

“This retrograde step is bad for views, bad for the BBC and bad for the region.”

The MP said: “It is a decision that should have been consulted on, and should be rethought.”

Also announced today is a directive to the BBC to "promote equality of opportunity" for people from working-class backgrounds, it has been announced.

It has been issued with a legal direction which includes a target for 25 per cent of staff to be from low socio-economic backgrounds and ensuring 50 per cent of radio and 60 per cent of TV programme production spend is outside London by the end of 2027.

The BBC must also deliver 1,000 apprenticeships per year by 2025 and ensure that 30 per cent of those are from low socio-economic groups.

The new stipulations have been announced by the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries as part of the mid-term review into the BBC's royal charter.