A spokesman for Newspaper Publishing plc, publisher of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, said the action recognised the competitiveness in the quality newspaper market. 'It accompanies the appointment of a new editor and will enable many more readers to enjoy the enhancements that will be evident in the Independent over the coming months.'
Ian Hargreaves, deputy editor of the Financial Times, was appointed last week to succeed Andreas Whittam Smith as editor of the Independent. He takes up his new post on 15 August.
The shareholders said the new 30p price would not remain in place indefinitely. 'It is felt that the premium quality the Independent achieves will, in the longer term, warrant a premium cover price and readers will accept this. In the meantime, the Independent, a non-proprietorial newspaper, is determined to command as large an audience as possible.'
The reduction means the paper is now the same price as the Daily Telegraph and 15p cheaper than the Guardian. The price on Saturday remains at 50p and the Independent on Sunday remains at pounds 1. The Daily Telegraph and the Times refused to comment on the cut. Peter Preston, chairman and editor of the Guardian, said: 'We will continue to watch the situation which so far has had very little impact upon us.'
Newspaper Publishing's four major shareholders are El Pais of Spain, La Repubblica of Italy, Tony O'Reilly's Irish Independent Group and Mirror Group Newspapers.