Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has said that the Scottish Government must do more to support local newspapers after the SNP lost a vote in the Scottish Parliament on their decision to scrap business rates relief for newspapers.
MSPs defeated the Scottish Government by one vote over their plans yesterday.
The Scottish Conservative MSP said: “Kate Forbes and the SNP made a huge mistake in scrapping rates relief for our local papers and, as a consequence, were defeated in a key vote in the Scottish Parliament. They must now respect the will of Parliament, and make amends by extending support to the sector to help it weather the pandemic."
“It is very difficult to overstate the importance of our local newspapers to communities across the Highlands and Islands where they have an essential role in providing up-to-date and relevant news which is simply not available from any other source. But good journalism comes at a price and that’s why business rates relief is so important at a time when the papers’ revenue has been reduced as a result of the pandemic."
“We all know the SNP have come to increasingly resent scrutiny the longer they have been in power. They don’t like a light being shone on some of their activities."
“But we should remember that a vigorous and robust free press is an essential part of any democracy and that’s another reason why our newspapers deserve to be supported at this challenging time.”