Watchdog asked to investigate Newsquest Glasgow

Scottish politicians are asking the Competition Commission to examine Newsquest‘s cuts at the Herald and Times group in Glasgow.

The Scottish parliament will tonight debate the “devastating cuts” at the Herald and Times group, after the motion was backed by 30 MSPs.

Sandra White MSP, leading the debate, said the MSPs were hoping the Competition Commission would step in, claiming Newsquest broke a promise it made when it bought the titles in 2003 to invest properly in them.

‘We’re seeing if it can be brought back to the Competition Commission,’she said. ‘That’s what I’m going to be asking for.”

Newsquest is making all 250 editorial staff reapply for between 30 and 40 fewer jobs, with no wage rises.

All three titles – the Herald, the Evening Times, and the Sunday Herald – will share one multimedia newsroom.

White, a member of the Scottish National Party, said newspapers were vital for open democracies.

‘It’s to do with justice and democracy,’she said. ‘Tonight, I’m going to start, joke really, by saying we don’t always get on with the media.

‘We might not like what they print but if they print the truth, then that’s their job.

“You get to a stage where you know a journalist, can trust them, and know they’re doing their job properly.

‘We don’t want tabloid journalism. The Herald and Evening Times have always been known for being independent – and we want a free and open press.

‘I think that’s going to be completely eroded [with the cuts].”

White said the public had raised similar concerns.

‘There are constituents that are concerned about the way the Herald has been going,’she said. ‘This is the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Herald and Times group managing director, Tim Blott, and managing editor, Tom Thomson, met Scottish government minister for enterprise, energy, and tourism Jim Mather, and SNP MP Pete Wishart yesterday.

A Herald and Times statement said there had been a “comprehensive discussion” about the editorial restructure.

Newsquest bosses are yet to meet the National Union of Journalists, despite requests from Mather and Wishart.

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