London mayor joins debate on distribution

Ken Livingstone is the latest highprofile figure to get involved in
the ongoing debate with the Office of Fair Trading over the future of
magazine distribution.

The OFT is likely to decide in the near
future that the current system should be changed to allow greater
competition, which publishers warn could lead to hundreds of niche
titles closing.

London’s mayor contacted Michael Heseltine, owner
of publisher Haymarket, over the proposals last week, and has said he
is “interested in the consequences for London”, according to a Mayor of
London spokeswoman.

The “Heseltine group” of industry figures,
which is against the proposed ruling, has pledged to continue drafting
a voluntary code of practice that it hopes could pre-empt any changes
to the law.

A spokesman for the Periodical Publishers Association
said: “Work is continuing on the drafting of a new magazine code of
practice, regardless of whether the OFT changes its provisional opinion
on the future of newspaper and magazine distribution arrangements.”

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