§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Mcintosh of Haringey)
My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has today published a draft Community Radio Order, associated Keeling Schedule and Explanatory Memorandum for public consultation. Copies of these documents are available in the House Libraries, or from the department's website. The department welcomes comments and the consultation period will last until 20 April 2004.
This order proposes to introduce a new tier of very local, not-for-profit (or not profit-distributing) radio. Community radio should be different from, and complementary to, existing independent local radio. Community radio offers potential benefits in terms of social inclusion, local educational, training and experience, wider access for communities to broadcasting opportunities.
The Communications Act provides for the possible establishment of a fund to support community radio. Ofcom will shortly be publishing its own draft guidance on how to apply for community radio licences.