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Pickles' council curbs condemned as undemocratic and perverse

11 February 2011

Eric Pickles has published the revised Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity. The NUJ condemned the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's plan to push ahead with draconian curbs on council publications despite MPs calling for a rethink.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, called the decision "undemocratic and perverse".

The revised code leaves the original Pickles proposals virtually unchanged, including a ban on local authority newspapers being published more often than four times a year.

The rules also stipulate that council advertising should not be politicised or a commentary on "contentious areas of public policy".

The new code comes despite a House of Commons' Communities and Local Government Select Committee report last month that criticised the government's proposals to curb the publication of council newspapers.

Jeremy Dear said:

"Today's announcement is undemocratic and perverse and shows what a sham the consultation really was.
"The committee found no evidence to back up Eric Pickles' wild assertions. It called for a fair and independent assessment of the impact of such publications on local newspapers. Eric Pickles has chosen not to deal with the facts but to display gross ignorance and bias."

Tags: , newspapers, eric pickles, council publications, councils, pres freedom, parliament uk, CLG select committee