There will be a tomorrow for Hackney Today

Opposition parties are up in arms at Hackney Council’s decision to continue publishing its “propaganda sheet” Hackney Today, in defiance of government guidelines.

The Labour-run cabinet rubber-stamped the decision to carry on publishing the tax-payer funded freesheet every fortnight at a Town Hall meeting last night, claiming it represents “value for money.”

But Tories and Lib Dems disagree with the council’s figures. Hackney Liberal Democrat Simon de Deney said: “Hackney Today is a wretched propaganda sheet. And it costs Hackney residents thousands.

“Switching statutory notices and other advertisements to independent media, such as the Hackney Gazette, would save money and create a more diverse media and culture in Hackney, rather than one that is controlled centrally by the council.”

Guidelines set out by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles were passed by Parliament in March, stipulating local authority newspapers and magazines must only be published once every three months.

Pickles has singled out just Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich for flouting the guidelines - but a report compiled by Hackney Council maintains they are not legally enforceable.

Labour spokeswoman Cllr Louisa Thomson, defended the decision.

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“Hackney Today fulfills a vital role in letting residents know about local services from the council, health services, the police and others, particularly as not everyone living in the borough has regular access to the internet,” she said.