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Newspapers complain about council publications

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The Newspaper Society has written to Local Government minister Rosie Winterton over concerns that council publications compete with local media for readers and advertising revenue.

There is also concern about the Government withdrawing advertising from local media and proposals to remove the requirement for statutory notices to be published in local newspapers.

“We note your recent comments about the important role local councils can play in helping their local businesses to grow and prosper and their region to grow economically,” wrote Lynne Anderson of the NS.

“Unfortunately, an increasing number of local councils across the UK are actively competing with local newspapers for readers and advertising revenues, causing real damage to these local businesses at a time when they are meant to be helping them to come through the recession.

“As well as being recognised as important local businesses and employers, local newspapers are of course vital to the functioning of any healthy local democracy, scrutinising the effective operation of local authorities, examining how council taxpayers’ money is spent, and holding elected representatives to account.”

The Audit commission is conducting an investigation into the issue.

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