A campaign calling for support for local media during the coronavirus crisis is being led by isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
A group of MPs have written to health secretary Matt Hancock and culture minister Oliver Dowden, asking that they support local and independent media through an increased share of public health communications spending.
The letter was backed by 40 MPs including former cabinet ministers and shadow ministers and highlighted the importance of local press in communicating trustworthy information and the financial strain faced by local journalists in light of the coronavirus.
Mr Carmichael said: “Local press are some of the most trusted sources of news for our communities and we must support them in this challenging time.
“They are vital to our efforts to respond and recover from the coronavirus and yet they are facing significant financial difficulties.
“This letter is about getting a fair share of government advertising spend for local and independent press, to reflect both their importance in our communities and their financial needs.
“The secretary of state for health has an important role in deciding where these advertising funds go.
“If the government takes seriously the need to get valuable and timely information about coronavirus to people in every part of the country then they should get behind this campaign, which is backed by MPs from all sides of parliament.”
Among the 40 signatories were Tory MPs David Mundell, Greg Clark and Michael Fabricant, Labour members Hilary Benn, John McDonnell and Margaret Hodge, Lib Dem MPs Christine Jardine and Tim Farron and SNP members Tommy Sheppard and Philippa Whitford.