LOCAL campaigner Philip Milton has today (Friday) pledged to support local newspapers from the threat posed by the BBC s plans to start producing local video on demand news. Philip, who is also the Conservative Prospective MP for North Devon, has written

LOCAL campaigner Philip Milton has today (Friday) pledged to support local newspapers from the threat posed by the BBC's plans to start producing local video on demand news.Philip, who is also the Conservative Prospective MP for North Devon, has written to the BBC Trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, calling on the BBC Trust to reject the BBC's proposal to spend £23 million a year on new local video on-demand services, which could kill off local newspapers in North Devon who are desperately trying to cope with a tough advertising climate. Conservatives have a much bolder vision for local newspapers, one which would enable them to invest in local television. "Local television is very poor in the UK, especially compared to the USA, and Conservatives want Ofcom to take all the steps it can to encourage the development of a genuinely local TV sector," said Mr Milton."Local newspaper groups would be ideal partners in any expansion of local TV in their areas and the result would be positive for local communities and local businesses alike."Mr Milton argued that the BBC should not be allowed to spend licence fee payers' money damaging existing local news services and stamping out fledgling competition in local television. He said: "In an increasingly difficult advertising market, why should local newspapers have to face the additional threat of subsidised competition from the BBC? I don't think they should and I have written to the BBC Trust asking them to take a strong stance on this proposal.