Herald owners to go under competition spotlight

THE owners of the Herald group of newspapers are to be investigated by the organisation that gave them the go-ahead to purchase the titles in the first place.

The Competition Commission has announced it is to re-visit assurances made by Newsquest when it purchased the group – including The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times – four years ago.

It follows a campaign by the National Union of Journalists to have the terms of the purchase looked at again in the wake of a proposed budget cut of three million pounds – which has led to both voluntary and compulsory redundancies and resulting fears that the quality of the papers is being driven down.

Confirmation of the Competition Commission’s decision came in a letter to SNP MP, Pete Wishart, who has backed the NUJ effort.

Newsquest bought the titles from SMG, giving – at the time – assurances about maintaining quality.

The NUJ’s Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, said: “We are delighted and want a full investigation, into all the facts. We feel guarantees have been breached.”

On Friday, the NUJ will learn the result of a ballot for industrial action, including strike action, in response to the compulsory redundancies – at the Evening Times.