Co-operative deal saves Tribune

A left-wing newspaper which counts George Orwell and Michael Foot among its former staff has been saved from closure.

Tribune, which was founded by two Labour MPs in 1937, would have gone to press for the final time next week, had a deal not been struck.

Following talks between staff, management and the National Union of Journalists, it has been agreed the title would become a co-operative.

The newspaper's publisher, Kevin McGrath, has offered to take on historical debts and release the title "debt free".

He said that he would do everything possible to help the success of the transfer to a co-operative.

Before negotiations took place, Mr McGrath, who bought Tribune in 2009, said: "We've tried as hard as we can but sadly sales are falling, subscriptions are down and advertising is down.

"We have secured the history and heritage of Tribune by digitising the whole 75-year archive."

All staff on the paper, which sells around 1,200 copies a week, would have been made redundant had negotiations not been successful.

A statement on its site earlier this week said: "A substantial cash injection failed to raise subscriptions and income to target levels".

Tribune was a powerful force on the left wing of the Labour Party for many years and was strongly associated with the supporters of Aneurin Bevan who founded the NHS in the post-war Labour government.

George Orwell served as its literary editor and contributed regular columns to the paper in its heyday and former Labour leader Michael Foot was among its editors.

Terms for the co-operative are to be drafted in time for a full meeting of the Tribune staff, which has to approve the deal, on Monday. PA