The Culture Secretary Andy Burnham says that some Councils which produce their own newspapers are "overstepping the mark."
His comments come as 50 local newspapers face closure. Many Conservatives would agree that Councils spend too much on publicity. But as Burnham says this is essentially a choice each Council to make. My own council produces a newspaper but it is self financing through real advertising. Under the previous Labour administration there was a cost to the Council Taxpayer of £400,000 a year producing a Council magazine.
Apart from the financial argument is an editorial one: Should the state be producing newspapers? What should a Council do to communicate with residents if the independent local newspapers have very low circulations? Often local papers are kept going by the statutory requirement of Councils to place advertising with them.