Any idea what the Lib Dem view was on this?
We support the concept of IFNCs, because government intervention will be needed if independent local and regional news providers are to survive. The Tories seem content to abandon regional and local news, and are willing to risk the jobs of hundreds of journalists. We oppose their complacency.
However, we’re concerned over the lack of clarity from government about how IFNCs will be funded in the future. While the pilots will be funded from the surplus in the account of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme, the only long term funding option from the government is by “top slicing” the BBC Licence Fee; a move which (see above) threatens the independence of the BBC.
There should be more serious consideration of other funding options such as spectrum charging, or using the profits from BBC Worldwide. Revenue from adverts shown around the Channel 3 regional news broadcasts might also go to the IFNCs producing the programming.
Don Foster, Liberal Democrats' Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary , Feb 2, 2010 to ATV Network.