Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
Scottish Conservatives’ shadow finance secretary, Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, has urged his SNP counterpart Kate Forbes to work with the UK Government to ensure action is taken to help the country’s regional media organisations survive the coronavirus pandemic.
He said a 100 per cent rates holiday was essential and that the Scottish Government should direct more advertising towards newspapers.
Mr Cameron added ministers are spending considerable sums on public health messages but most of that is online to companies which are based overseas.
He also suggested investing in a similar scheme to the Danish government, which has introduced a fund for media organisations during the crisis.
A similar initiative by the Scottish Government, he said, could be replicated for around £25 million.
A trusted media loan scheme has also been floated, which established titles could sign up to.
As well as providing a vital public service, news publishing supports around 4,000 jobs in Scotland.
‘It would be regrettable if newspapers, having played such a critical role during this health and economic emergency, were allowed to collapse immediately afterwards,’ he said.
Ms Forbes commented: ‘Local newspapers play such a vital role in communities and Highland papers like the Lochaber Times do an exceptional job of reporting on news of local and national interest. It is clearly a challenging time for them, as it is for so many small businesses.
‘The Scottish Government has introduced a number of ways to support local newspapers – including designating reporters and printers ‘essential workers’ to allow them to continue working.’
But she questioned the Conservatives’ stance on this issue, saying the Tories were simultaneously calling for increased support in multiple sectors and asking for greater support in sectors that already have support.
‘At the same time, our funding allocation from the UK Government is based on the Barnett Formula which is population based and doesn’t cover the full cost of the need by any stretch of the imagination,’ Ms Forbes added.