'It should be applauded!' MPs back GB News as Ofcom delivers ruling on our Don’t Kill Cash campaign

GB News' giant piggy bank outside Parliament for Don't Kill Cash campaign
GB News unveiled a giant piggy bank outside Parliament as part of the Don't Kill Cash campaign
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 18/12/2023

- 11:47

Updated: 18/12/2023

- 15:11

Former minister Priti Patel told GB News: 'There is nothing wrong in highlighting the devastating impact that losing access to cash will have'

Ofcom has faced furious reaction after it announced that GB News' 'Don't Kill Cash' campaign was in breach of its due impartiality rules.

The campaign, which called to protect cash for society’s most financially vulnerable people, received more than 300,000 signatures and received cross-party support.

Conservative MP Brendan-Clarke Smith said he was "flabbergasted" by the ruling, while DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said it is "bizarre".

Former cabinet minister Priti Patel told GB news: "Millions of people across the country are concerned about losing access to cash and the Don’t Kill Cash campaign by GB News has struck a chord with the public.

"There is nothing wrong in highlighting the devastating impact that losing access to cash will have, especially on vulnerable people and businesses.”

Clarke-Smith told GB News: "I am flabbergasted as to how an issue that commands widespread public support, is backed by MPs from across the political spectrum and is important to many elderly, vulnerable and rurally-based people is seen as controversial.

"It’s the same as having access to a bank or a Post Office. Surely this is something everybody can get behind?

"In fact the government even introduced legislation to protect access to cash.

"GB News should be applauded for their sense of public service, not be wrapped on the knuckles for it”.

Paisley Jr added: "It’s bizarre! It’s a campaign in touch with grassroots needs and surely in line with a campaigning papers' rights."

Ofcom said The Live Desk "promoted a GB News campaign calling for a new law on the status of cash. Our investigation focused on GB News’ compliance with our rules – not the campaign’s merits."

It said: "We found that, at the time of broadcast, preserving access to cash – including whether to mandate its acceptance – was a matter of political controversy and a matter of current public policy."

In a statement, GB News said: "We are disappointed by Ofcom’s ruling that our campaign to protect cash for society’s most financially vulnerable people was a breach of the Broadcasting Code.Ofcom has not censured other UK broadcasters, including Sky News and the BBC, for running their own campaigns in the past.

"Our Don’t Kill Cash petition received more than 300,000 signatures in what we believe wasrecord speed for a media advocacy campaign.

"As journalists we believe it is our role to advocate for members of the community who are marginalised.

"Five million Britons risk being excluded from the financial system because they are, or do not have a smartphone, internet access, a bank account, or all of these.

"We disagree with Ofcom’s assertion that because the campaign was under the GB News banner, it represented the personal or self-interested view of anyone within the company. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"We maintain our campaign was not political and so did not consider it invoked due impartiality rules requiring substantially different views.

"The campaign received widespread support across the political spectrum.

"We noted that Ofcom took no issue with the BBC television and radio campaign to fundraise for the NHS nor the Sky News campaign to change the way general elections are debated.

"Ofcom repeatedly states that editorial decisions like these are matters for each broadcaster. We agree.

"We believe Ofcom has interpreted its rules extremely narrowly in this instance.

Today’s ruling concludes only one of the six investigations Ofcom has launched into the Don’tKill Cash campaign, which was covered in different programmes on different days."

Protecting access to cash has been supported by both Conservative and Labour politicians.

In November, the Labour Party said it would accelerate the roll out of “banking hubs” and give new powers to financial regulators to guarantee access to cash for people across the UK if it wins the next general election.

You may like