Legislation on the cards to stamp out council “propaganda rags” like Hackney Today

Eric Pickles has announced legislation will be brought in to deal with “hard core” local authority chiefs who persist in using public funds to publish ‘town hall Pravdas’ – like Hackney Today.

Hackney Council has continued to publish 108,000 copies of its rag every fortnight,despite guidelines brought in by the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Mr Pickles, two years ago which recommended councils scrapped what he dubbed their “propaganda rags”.

Speaking to regional press political editors and lobby correspondents at a Newspaper Conference lunch in Westminster, Mr Pickles said a bill would be brought in, in the next session of Parliament, to “stop a bunch of hard core authorities” who continued to publish competing council newspapers, which threatened to snuff out local papers.

“We need an independent voice,” he stressed.

Elected Labour Mayor Jules Pipe maintains Hackney Today is value for money and impartial, but opposition Tory and Lib Dem councillors do not agree.