Lancs council paper ‘biased’ argues MP

Labour Party chairman and MP for Makerfield Ian McCartney has accused Lancashire County Council of putting politically biased information in its newspaper.

McCartney complained to the Audit Commission that the January and February editions of Vision supported a council campaign urging residents to vote against a regional assembly in a forthcoming referendum.

An Audit Commission spokesman said: ‘We have had a complaint centring on publicity material published by Lancashire County Council about the creation of an elected regional body that threatens the current local government bodies.’

The council denied the claim and said it was sticking to its duty of telling residents about the proposed restructure of local government. A spokesman said: ‘We were trying to increase public knowledge. The Local Government Act says local authorities must tell the public about issues that affect them. Vision was publicising the issue. It was not biased.’

In March, Bath and North East Somerset Council was rapped by the commission for circulating biased and ‘scaremongering’ material about the sale of its housing stock (PRWeek, 10 March). It said the material was persuasive and not informative.

McCartney was not available for comment as PRWeek went to press.

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