New rules to limit 'town hall Pravdas'
The Government will today take action to curb the growth of so-called "town hall Pravdas", the in-house newspapers produced by local authorities from public funds and delivered for free through letter boxes.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, announced last night that new measures would prevent such publications from being produced more than four times a year. Some local authority newspapers are produced weekly. Mr Pickles also said proposals to prevent councils from spending public money on what he called "shadowy hired-gun lobbyists" from the private sector.
The crackdown on the publications represents a victory for local newspaper companies, who have complained they face unfair competition for local advertising revenue from their publicly funded rivals.
The Newspaper Society, which represents the local and regional press, had said: "The regional media industry is very concerned by the ever-increasing threat posed by local authorities' publications, websites and broadcast services, which purport to offer 'independent' local news and compete with local media for readers and advertising revenues.
"They do not focus upon the local authorities' core activities. Their objectivity must be highly questionable. Yet it is very difficult to mount any legal challenge."
Mr Pickles said he would be revising the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity. "The rules around council publicity have been too weak for too long allowing public money to be spent on frivolous town hall propaganda papers that have left many local newspapers looking over the abyss," he said.
The Government claims that local authorities which have closed publications have made significant cost savings.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...