London free papers hold 'productive' meeting with local council

The dispute between London's free evening newspapers and Westminster Council shows no signs of ending despite meetings between councillors and publishers being described as "productive".

The council met with Associated Newspapers, publishers of the London Lite, on Tuesday and News International, which owns thelondonpaper, on Friday to discuss a recycling deal thought to be worth £500,000.

The council wants the publishers to contribute to the cost of clearing and recycling some 900,000 free papers given out each week day in the capital.

Cabinet member for street environment, councillor Alan Bradley, was optimistic about sealing a deal but said an outcome was unlikely in the near future.

He said: "We're in ongoing discussions with both newspaper groups and our initial meetings have been productive. This is a highly complex matter, and therefore we do not anticipate being able to announce the final outcome of our negotiations for some time."

Last week London Lite released video footage of thelondonpaper distributors dumping hundreds of papers into bins leaving them on streets – only for News International to respond with their own advert which thanked Associated for pointing out the practice but accusing it of resorting to "dirty tricks" whenever its monopoloy is challenged. NI claim to have sacked the distributors shown in the video.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation, which monitors the circulation of both papers, has announced an enquiry into the alleged dumping.

ABC has stressed that it has not had an an official complaint, but said in a statement it is acting "due to the implications that these allegations may have on the certified distribution figures for the London free newspapers".


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