Magazine published by Brent Council could face restrictions or be forced to close

The Brent Magazine could face further restrictions

The Brent Magazine could face further restrictions - Credit: Archant

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, plans further clampdown on town hall ‘political propaganda’

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A magazine published by Brent Council 10 times a year could be forced to become a quarterly publication or close altogether in a proposed clampdown on town hall ‘propaganda’.

The Brent Magazine will be affected by plans announced by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to legislate against town halls who continue to flout the rules and abuse taxpayers’ money by publishing ‘political propaganda’.

In April 2010, Mr Pickles introduced a new code for councils which said they should only release publications four times a year.

But the Brent Council ignored the call saying TBM represents “extremely good value for money” despite figures obtained by the Times showing that it was losing the town hall nearly £1,000 a month on average.

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As part of his action, Mr Pickles has launched a consultation which is seeking views on how best to frame the new legislation to stop town hall ‘Pravda’.

He said: “Some councils are undermining the free press and wasting taxpayers’ money which should be spent carefully on the front line services that make a real difference to quality of life.

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“It should not, under any circumstances, be used to fund political propaganda and town hall Pravdas and yet a hardcore minority of councils continue to ignore the rules despite public concern.

“The line in the sand is clear, publicity material straying into propaganda clearly crosses that line, and this legislation will stop this disgraceful misuse of public money, which damages local democracy and threatens an independent, free and vibrant local press.”

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