The TaxPayers' Alliance believes that a healthy and vibrant local press ensures proper scrutiny of local authorities. When councils use taxpayers' cash to distribute their own publications they create direct and unfair competition for local media, harming genuine accountability. They also cost taxpayers' money and savings need to be made.
The Department for Communities and Local Goverenment have produced a Publicity Code. It contains many sensible suggestions for how councils should conduct themselves when it comes to publicity. Unfortunately, many are ignoring the code of practice and are wasting taxpayers' money on rival newspapers, or making political points by plastering posters all over town.
Our response, which can be found here, calls for an end to free-sheets so that local journalists can play their part in keeping local politicians honest. We encourage everyone to respond to the three-question consultation, which you can do by clicking here.