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Local Government Minister Urges Residents to Report Councils Which Publish Newspapers

Grant Shapps has urged residents to report council publications which continue to breach the Publicity Code to the district auditor.

The local government minister said it was “unacceptable” for council newspapers such as East End Life and Greenwich Time to continue competing aggressively with independent local newspapers despite a crackdown on the practice earlier this year.  

The Government published a new Publicity Code stipulating that local councils should not publish newspapers in direct competition to the local press, and that they should not appear more frequently than quarterly and should only include material directly related to local services.

But some councils have defied the Government by continuing to publish newspapers which breach the Code.

Local government minister Grant Shapps told PR Week: “It is unacceptable that Labour councils are trying to push independent local newspapers out of the market in a bid to stop scrutiny of their spending.

"This choreographed attack on free speech by Tower Hamlets and Greenwich has no place in a modern democracy. These papers exist to promote personal political agendas and not the interests of the public and I urge local residents to report these publications to the district auditor."

The NS is the voice of Britain’s local media, the UK’s most trusted medium. It represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,700 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels.