Public Sector: Tories call for council newspaper 'reviews'

The Conservative Party has alarmed council PR chiefs by saying local authorities should review their publications to see if they are going 'beyond their remit'.

Speaking at the Commission on the Future of Community News on 26 November, shadow secretary for communities and local government Caroline Spelman hit out at local government newspapers for 'contributing to the decline of local newspapers'.

Spelman said: 'Local newspapers are being driven out of business because they haven't got the resources to compete with council publications. But in an age where the appetite for independent political scrutiny is greater than ever, local newspapers deserve to compete on equal terms.

'So if we form the next government, we will be asking councils to take another look at their publications and question if they are going beyond their remit. We will also be going back over the Local Authority Publicity code with a view to tightening it up.'

But Westminster City Council director of comms Alex Aiken responded: 'The vast majority of council publications are published four to six times a year and carry information that helps people access local services. A minority, and these include some very good publications, are published more regularly.'

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