Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Council magazine cost taxpayers £55,000

TAXPAYERS spent £55,868 funding Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s Your Solihull magazine last year, figures released to The Silhillian show.

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The council spent £26,727 printing, £27,341 distributing and £1,800 on photographs and design for magazine, delivered to homes.

It got £1,200 for advertising, also from the public sector.

The magazines have been criticised for publishing articles that present a positive image of the council and public sector partners.

The latest 16-page issue has articles about how gritting teams are “ready for winter”, recycling advice and how trading standards are “putting the boot into rogue traders”.

Yet the council has said readers value the magazine as it provides important information about public services.

The magazine cost £31,352.81 in 2006/07 and the latest figures, for the 2010/11 financial year, mean the council has spent £273,345 from April 2005 to April 2011.

All figures were released by the council to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Sihillian.

In April, the Government introduced a “tough” new code of practice for the publications over concerns some were competing directly with local newspapers.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles said: “Taxpayers' money should be for protecting front line services not printing Pravdas.”

He said: “Publicity straying into propaganda clearly crosses the line of appropriate public funding.”

Solihull council will have to make £10m out of cuts to balance next year’s budget, expected to be about £130m.

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5 comments:

  1. Does not go far towards the £10m, but cut it

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  2. Waste of money. If Council think it worthwhile the costs should be deducted from their expenses.

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  3. Dreadful waste of money. A very good test on public money is to say whether you would do this with your own money. A hospital or library...yes, a glossy magazine that probably 99% of the borough won't read or be interested in....no.

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  4. It does seem like a waste of money, a cheaper alternative would be to publish it online...and you could even distribute via email.

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  5. It's already published online:

    http://www.solihull.gov.uk/news/yoursolihull.htm

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