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Local Authorities Prepare for Council Newspaper Cuts

Independent local newspapers across the UK have been reporting on the impact Eric Pickles’ proposed changes to the Local Authority Publicity Code could have on council publications in their areas.

The East London Advertiser reported that Tower Hamlets Council’s weekly East End Life could face the axe, while Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle covered the local council’s future plans for its publication H&F News.

In an interview with Greenwich.co.uk, Mr Pickles singled out Greenwich Time, published by Greenwich Council, as “one of the most blatant examples” of “one-sided Town Hall papers that threaten the genuine local press”. According to Streatham Guardian, Lambeth Council’s fortnightly Lambeth Life is also facing the axe.

It has been reported in local media titles that the proposals could affect council publications across the UK including Nottingham, North Somerset, Northumberland, and BoltonNorthern Echo editor Peter Barron welcomed Mr Pickles’ announcement in his weekly column.

The Communities and Local Government Secretary launched the consultation on a new Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity at the end of September.

The consultation document said Mr Pickles had “made it clear that the existing rules on local authority publicity have resulted in taxpayers’ money being wasted and the free press being undermined.”

Around 100 councils across the UK will have to cut the frequency of their newspapers or magazines as a result of proposals to tighten up the publicity rules for councils announced by Eric Pickles, according to PR Week.

The trade magazine quotes LGComms figures which claim that approximately 50 local authorities will have to scale down by one or two issues, while another 50 will have to stop publishing at least three issues a year.

For further information please contact Paul Sinker on 020 763 274 24 or sinkerp@newspapersoc.org.uk.

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.