The broadcasting unions’ campaign urges immediate action to save ITV regional news. At the same time, the joint unions – BECTU, the NUJ and Unite – have welcomed the go-ahead given by government to regional news pilots run by Independently Financed News Consortia, but representatives fear that the trials will not protect the current news network. With the pilots set to operate in just three licence areas – Scotland, Wales and one English region – the reality, say representatives, is that ITV will continue to cut spending on regional news in line with the fall in value of its analogue licences.
As a result, representatives will be calling on the company to seek government funding, as an interim measure, to sustain the current service until the pilots are concluded. “The unions concern for jobs and a quality service will be central to our approaching negotiations on the matter,” commented David Beevers, the BECTU supervisory official.