Laura Sharman 30 January 2015

Pickles issues notice over council newspaper

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has warned the Royal Borough of Greenwich to limit the publication of its weekly council newspaper.

Mr Pickles has issued the council with a statutory notice after it failed to comply with the publicity code, which states councils should only produce magazines or newspapers on a quarterly basis.

The council had argued that the weekly newspaper, Greenwich Times, helped save £2m a year in advertising statutory notices and job adverts. It also said it did not adversely impact on local newspapers and allowed the council to communicate with all residents across the borough.

However, the notice to the council states: ‘The secretary of state recognises that ‘Greenwich Time’ is welcomed by the community but his provisional view is that this does not outweigh the importance of allowing an environment for independent and politically free local media, by limiting the frequency of local authority newssheets, and so protecting local democracy.

‘Furthermore, the information in ‘Greenwich Time’ could be delivered through a quarterly publication, supported as appropriate with other communication channels.’

The council has two weeks to respond to the notice.

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