The Government today claimed “corrosive” Town Hall pravdas were costing taxpayers £20 million a year.
Brandon Lewis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, blamed the local authority papers for damaging local democracy.
Lewis said the Coalition was actively looking at statutory measures to ban these papers.
His boss, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, made a barbed reference to the controversial publications in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday, accusing Labour councils of burning money “from their union pilgrims to their Town Hall Pravdas”.
Lewis told Press Gazette: “Councils should be looking to cut out waste and unnecessary spending to help pay off the deficit inherited by the last administration, including stopping weekly town hall pravdas. Yet it is astonishing that Tower Hamlets is actively encouraging councils to spend up to £20 million of taxpayers’ money on more propaganda on the rates.”
"By continuing to publish so-called newspapers such as East End Life, Tower Hamlets are not only misusing public funds, they are ultimately damaging local democracy and an independent, free press. We are looking at putting the Publicity Code on a statutory basis to address this corrosive abuse of taxpayers' money."
However, the London Borough of Camden recently announced that it was increasing the frequency of its magazine from quarterly to ten times a year.