The Department for Communities and Local Government are consulting on new proposals to tighten up on rules for council newspapers.  At the end of September, the Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP announced new proposals to “stop taxpayers’ money being squandered on town hall newspapers.”  These measures will include stopping the production of newspapers more than four times a year, and ensuring that papers will neither be in competition with the local press nor allowed to cover any issues other than promoting council services.


See the CLG announcement here

and the related Guardian report, here:


ALDC is asking our members what you think about these proposals.

Our colleagues in the Liberal Democrat Group at the Local Government Association have already condemned Mr Pickles’ announcement as being contradictory on localism and arguing that the vast majority of council papers “do not compete with the private sector. They provide a unique information service to keep residents informed.”  See the LGA Lib Dems’ press release here.


For us, the issues are:


– councils do need to communicate with their local residents, local people need to be informed about the services that the council provides


– there have no doubt been instances where local councils have “abused” council newspapers to “keep in power” the political party that runs the council – this is always hard to prove but I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of it


– an independent local media is an important part of our democracy. In many areas the media has been in decline with local papers closing down. Withdrawal of Council advertising (into Council newspapers) has sometimes been the “nail in the coffin” for this decline.


– we also need to address that communications is moving on rapidly, and the importance of an independent media also applies to online content and social media as well as traditional printed newspapers. 


So what do you think? Comment below or email us at

Tim Pickstone

ALDC Chief Executive

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