Council-run newsletters, dubbed “town hall Pravdas” by some, have been criticised by owners of local newspapers for making their business harder. As well as meeting some appetite for local news, they are usually part-funded by advertising.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by L Barnett, it is known that 110,000 copies of Redbridge Life are printed each month, and that it has a readership of 250,000. In 2009/10 it was budgeted to cost Â£141,761, and up to last December, Â£17,810 of that had been offset by non-council adverts, including some from the NHS, TfL and universities and colleges. The council is aiming to save Â£4m from its budget this year, and had already been planning to cut the cost of Redbridge Life by Â£25,000.
Mr Pickles is reported by the Guardian to be about to believed to be about to announce a tightening of the rules. The paper reports:
Under the new rules, it is understood councils will only be allowed to publish free titles four times a year. They will also have to remove any content which appears to praise the council or endorse the quality of its local services, including quotes from local residents