Council condemns plans to scrap BBC's popular Look East news in Milton Keynes

The leader of MK Council has expressed his “deep concern” over the BBC’s proposed cuts to the Look East regional news programme.

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:17 pm

Cllr Pete Marland is putting forward a motion to the next full council meeting to register his objections to the plan.

The BBC announced recently that it intends to scrap the popular Look East (West) programme that covers MK.

It currently broadcasts two versions of Look East - one from Norwich and one from Cambridge – and Milton Keynes comes under the latter.

BBC Look East (West) is to be scrapped

The corporation says its decision to end the Cambridge programme was part of plans to "move decisively to a digital-first BBC to better deliver value for all audiences".

It has led to some viewers questioning whether they will continue paying for a TV licence to watch BBC.

Cllr Marland is asking MK Council’s chief executive to write to the Director General of the BBC to oppose the cut.

His motion reads: “This council expresses deep concern over the plans and believes that as a growing area our region requires more, not less, investment in local journalism.”

The current Look East (West) area covers Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedfordshire, Luton and Cambridge. A combined area would also cover all of East Anglia and Essex.

As part of its digital-first plan, the BBC has also revealed that both BBC Four and CBBC will no longer run as linear TV channels, and they will be phased out over the next few years.

Describing the “blueprint to build a digital-first public service media organisation”, the BBC said 1,000 jobs will be cut over the next few years.

BBC World News and the BBC News channel will also merge to create a single 24-hour TV news channel to serve both UK and international audiences. The channel, which will be called BBC News, will offer greater amounts of shared content, says the corporation.

Meanwhile, BBC bosses have been ordered to “promote equality of opportunity” for people from working-class backgrounds. They has been issued with a legal direction, which includes targets of employing 25% of its staff from low socio-economic backgrounds and ensuring 60% of the money it spend on TV programme production is outside London.

These targets must be met by the end of 2027.