George Osborne cuts business rates to give local press a boost

George Osborne has promised to cut business rates for local newspapers and said he is in discussions with the BBC to see if its license fee can be used to protect local media.

The chancellor made the comments in a speech on Thursday (28 April) and said the cut in business rates will come in to effect from next April in an attempt to boost struggling local papers.

"If we are going to have powerful elected mayors, local decisions taken on everything from health to criminal justice then we do need strong local media to hold them to account...We need professional journalists present at those council meetings keeping tabs on what they are up to.

"As power is devolved out of Whitehall a dynamic, vibrant local media is more vital to our democracy than ever before."

He added that declining advertising revenues meant that in the past 12 months have led to local papers such as the Surrey Herald, Sheffield Weekly Gazette and Reading Post being forced to close.

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