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TOPIC: Last local paper shuts so elderly ring MP for news

Last local paper shuts so elderly ring MP for news 08 Feb 2019 09:51 #13910

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Last local paper shuts so elderly ring MP for news
By Sean Coughlan

Elderly people are so starved of information after their last local paper closed, an MP has said, they are calling his office for news updates.

Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, said many older people did not have access to online news and were left "isolated" when papers close down.
"I was amazed to have elderly residents ringing my office to say would I keep them informed of the news," he said.

The loss of newspapers was a "tragedy" for local communities, he said.
The absence of printed local newspapers had left many older people "disenfranchised" and cut off from finding out what was going on around them, said Mr Halfon.

The Harlow Star, the last of three local papers in his constituency, had recently stopped printing, the former minister said, cutting an important thread holding the local community together.

MP Robert Halfon says it is wrong to assume that everyone has easy access to online news
"I described it as a tragedy - and people accused me of hyperbole but I stand by my words," said the Conservative MP, who chairs the Education Select Committee.

"It's not just older people, because there are a lot of people who don't have access to a computer or the internet.

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