NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has voiced concerns about the loss of regional programming to ITV executive chairman Michael Grade. Mr Harvey made representations following the announcement last summer that ITV aims to save £35m-£40m a year, by cutting regiona

NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has voiced concerns about the loss of regional programming to ITV executive chairman Michael Grade.Mr Harvey made representations following the announcement last summer that ITV aims to save £35m-£40m a year, by cutting regional news services by 50 per cent."Michael Grade has personally reiterated to me that he plans to merge Westcountry Live and The West Tonight," said Mr Harvey, who is lobbying the public and key personalities to resist the proposed merger."While it is proposed the new programme will serve local viewers in the Westcountry and West regions, I remain concerned to what level these will continue to be supported by journalists and camera crews which currently provide a news gathering presence at a local level."In a response to Mr Harvey's representations about programming and staffing levels, Mr Grade said that current annual investment of some £120 million in regional programming was no longer sustainable and the status quo was simply not an option.Mr Harvey said that he feared key financial decisions had already been made behind closed doors and that job losses and a degradation of service was inevitable. "I remain particularly opposed to the possible loss of the ITV Westcountry presence here in North Devon," he said.