Mark Whitehead 12 February 2018

Newspapers call for 'swift legal action' on town hall Pravdas

Newspapers call for swift legal action on town hall Pravdas image

Local newspaper bosses say they are worried the Government is going to lift its clampdown on councils issuing their own publications.

The News Media Association says it means many councils who shut down their own newspapers will now decide to start them up again.

Former local government minister Eric Pickles announced a crackdown on 'town hall Pravdas' in 2010, arguing that they were 'propaganda sheets' designed to 'tell people how great the council is'.

He said they were undermining local newspapers and democratic accountability and issued regulations saying they must not be published more than four times a year.

But Waltham Forest and Hackney councils in London defied the ban and continued publishing their own fortnightly newspapers.

A spokesperson for Hackney council confirmed it was still publishing 'Hackney Today' every two weeks.

In a statement, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: 'Waltham Forest and Hackney Councils had until 5 January to make representations and have done so.

'The Secretary of State is now considering what next steps to take.'

But NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson wrote to communities secretary Sajid Javid warning: 'We are deeply concerned that the Government may be retreating from its clear position on closing down these publications, known as town hall Pravdas, which have been exposed as nothing more than pernicious propaganda and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

'All local authorities which flout the Publicity Code and use public funds to compete for scarce advertising revenues with independent local newspapers must be stopped or councils across the country which have complied with the Code will take this as a sign that they can re-launch their council newspapers with impunity.'

Supporting the most vulnerable in Herts image

Supporting the most vulnerable in Herts

Hertfordshire CC is investing £9.6m to support its most vulnerable residents in overcoming the repercussions of the pandemic. Scott Crudgington explains why the council is determined to remain ‘a county of opportunity’ for all.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

People Technology / HRIS Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £42174 per annum
The Opportunity The People Technology / HRIS Analyst will be responsible for supporting the ongoing management of people-based technology including England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Energy Engineer

Surrey County Council
£45,734 - £51,725 per annum
Do you have experience in working with delivering carbon reduction measures into a range of building projects? Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Wellbeing and Independence Practitioner - Safeguarding

Essex County Council
£27203 - £31370 per annum
Please note, this role is a Fixed Term Contract until the end of March 2022. With us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
c. £150,000
Are you ready for an exciting and rewarding opportunity Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Fire & Rescue Service

Housing Development Manager

City of York Council
£36,476 to £41,830 per annum
Do you want to play a key part in the delivery of “the UK’s most ambitious council-led housing programme in a generation”? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue