Government acts on "Greenwich Time" Propaganda

The Government has taken action to stop Greenwich Council's misuse of taxpayers' money on promoting itself with its weekly "Greenwich Time" propaganda newspaper.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, has given notice to the Council's Chief Executive that he is minded to exercise his powers under a new law to direct them to comply with the Code of Practice on Local Government Publicity.

Mr Pickles said:

"Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public, and municipal state-produced newspapers suppress that. ‘Town Hall Pravdas’ not only waste taxpayers’ money unnecessarily, they undermine free speech.

"I have given written notice to councils most clearly breaching the Publicity Code, noting that Parliament has passed new laws to tackle this abuse. We are prepared to take further action against any council that undermines local democracy - whatever the political colour."

Councillor NIgel Fletcher, Deputy Leader of Greenwich Conservatives, responded to the news, saying:

"I am very pleased the Government is taking action to force the Council to stop this wasteful propaganda and comply with the law.  It is outrageous that local residents are being forced to pay for this biased weekly publication that promotes the Labour administration and undermines the local press.  This abuse has gone on for far too long, and it is time it ended once and for all."

"Last month, the Labour leader Councillor Roberts told me he saw no reason to stop producing the paper.  He has now been told in no uncertain terms he is breaking the law, and needs to stop."

The letter from the Government to Greenwich Council can be found here.

Nigel with Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and a copy of 'Greenwich TIme'.