Demise of East End Life heralds end of council newspapers

18 May 16

One of the last weekly newspapers published by a council has bitten the dust after a government campaign to close it.

East End Life, published by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets since 1993 will be replaced by a quarterly magazine called Our East End and by notices on the council website.

The change means Tower Hamlets will now comply with the Government’s Publicity Code, which has seen other councils abandon publications or reduce them to quarterlies.

Communities secretary Greg Clark said: “East End Life was an unnecessary use of taxpayers' money and undermined the much-needed independent local press.

“Council newspapers can and do have a role in informing communities about local services, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of the health of our local democracy.” 

Under the code, local authorities should not have publications that resemble commercial newspapers, must not publish more frequently than quarterly and must be identified on its front page as from the council concerned.

Ministers in April wrote to five councils asking for a commitment to comply with the code.

Clark said the Royal Borough of Greenwich has agreed to drop its weekly newspaper from July.

John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Following a review at the end of last year, we developed a new communications approach which aims to ensure our residents receive useful information in the way that they want it.

“We will continue to review our communications plans to ensure that we use the best channels to engage with our residents going forward.”

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