Ringing on the phone

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Aged individuals are so starved of knowledge after the closure of native papers, an MP has mentioned, they’re calling his workplace for information updates.

Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, mentioned many older individuals didn’t have entry to on-line information and had been left “remoted” when papers shut down.

“I used to be amazed to have aged residents ringing my workplace to say would I hold them knowledgeable of the information,” he mentioned.

The lack of newspapers was a “tragedy” for native communities, he mentioned.

And the absence of printed native newspapers had left many older individuals “disenfranchised” and minimize off from discovering out what was occurring round them.

The Harlow Star, the final of three native papers in his constituency, had not too long ago stopped printing, the previous minister mentioned, chopping an essential thread holding the local people collectively.

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MP Robert Halfon says it’s incorrect to imagine that everybody has quick access to on-line information

“I described it as a tragedy – and folks accused me of hyperbole however I stand by my phrases,” mentioned the Conservative MP, who chairs the Schooling Choose Committee.

“Persons are utterly remoted.

“Particularly in the event that they’re aged, they’ve no thought what is going on on, what’s occurring to the hospital, what the council are deciding, what the faculties are doing, what their grandchildren are doing.”

There was native information web site, Mr Halfon mentioned, however “you must be on-line to take a look at it”.

And there was too typically an assumption that everybody had the web and on-line information at their fingertips,

“So many individuals wouldn’t have this,” he mentioned

“It isn’t simply older individuals, as a result of there are lots of people who do not have entry to a pc or the web.

“They could have a cellphone however they cannot afford the info package deal or they could solely have a look at it from time to time.”

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1 / 4 of native and regional papers have closed up to now decade

Charities for the aged have warned that older individuals may be notably affected by the lack of native providers, reminiscent of Excessive Avenue retailers, put up places of work, libraries and pubs.

Nyree Ambarchian, who volunteers with the Contact the Aged charity, mentioned: “I see first-hand that these points are contributing to emotions of isolation.

“Slowly however absolutely, the native material of our communities is being eroded by issues just like the decline of native newspapers, which older individuals rely closely on as a supply of knowledge and communication.”

The charity’s chief government, Meryl Davies, mentioned: “We at all times think about that the web is all over the place however half of the older individuals within the UK have by no means been on-line.”

1 / 4 of all regional and native newspapers have closed up to now decade, in response to the Division for Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport.

In response, authorities has commissioned an unbiased evaluate into discovering a sustainable future for journalism, chaired by Dame Frances Cairncross, which is quickly anticipated to report again.