Local editor overjoyed as council cancels £300,000 newsletter

Thurrock Council, in Essex, has abandoned plans to launch a fortnightly council newsletter costing £300,000 per year.

Plans were thrown out after council leaders found there was no business case for the publication.

Thurrock Gazette editor Steve Lewis said he hoped the decision would prove to other councils that tax-payer funded newsletters will not work.

He said: “Clearly this is a victory for the local media and for the many taxpayers who voiced their opposition to this…

“I hope it serves to strengthen the position of local newspapers and local journalists across the country.”

Ditching the newsletter plan will come as sweet news to the Newspaper Society which has been actively campaigning against council-run titles, warning that councils are damaging local newspapers with their own frees.

The ire of the local press on this issue has also been noticed higher up the food chain. Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw issued his own scathing condemnation of council-owned ‘propaganda sheets’in August saying they “reminded him of Pravda” as he warned council bosses they should ‘very seriously consider’their spending on these papers.

In an investigation for the Evening Standard, Andrew Gilligan revealed that council-paid journalists and press officers may not outnumber independent local newspaper journalists in London.

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