I appreciate the importance of independent newspapers. The Government shares my desire to support independent publications in Broxtowe and across the country through this difficult time and I have been assured that ministers are in regular dialogue with publishers.
A wide range of support has been made available for local newspapers. Including the designation of their staff as ‘key workers’. This means that journalists and ancillary staff have been able to continue working and have access to childcare and education for their families.
The chancellor has also brought forward the zero rating of VAT on all e-publications by 7 months. This tax relief has been available from the 1st May and the Government expect this to be passed onto consumers in the form of reduced prices, and publishers should benefit from increased sales.
Some constituents have raised concerns with me about the coronavirus public information campaign that has been launched. Worth up to £35 million in advertising revenue, this campaign brings together over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to reach 49 million people a month. As with any media planning approach, titles have been selected on their ability to engage with audiences and to ensure value for money, reach and targeting efficacy. It is my understanding that the vast majority of titles involved are local papers and additional titles have been selected in order to further reach priority audiences including BAME and older men.
Independent publishers may also benefit from several measures included in an unprecedented business support package, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loans, VAT deferrals, and coverage of statutory sick pay costs.
If any local publications are struggling during this time, I would be more than happy to offer my support. Please do contact myself or my team and we will endeavour to help in any way we can.