John Moss is the Conservative Candidate for the City & East, London Assembly seat next year, writes in dismay at the decision of Tower Hamlets council to keep publishing its weekly propoganda rag at a cost of over £1.5 million.
Across England, several millions of pounds have been saved and re-directed to front-line services by councils giving up free newspapers delivered to their residents. These were always justified by councillors as meeting a requirement to “keep residents informed”, but inevitably ended up as propaganda vehicles for councillors to blow their own trumpets – at our expense.
The most famous example had to be Ken Livingstone’s free sheet, The Londoner, which cost London’s council tax-payers over £3 million a year. Boris Johnson got rid of that the week he was elected and nobody I have met in the past three years has ever said they missed it – except the printers.
Yet one London council is holding out against common sense and continuing to produce a weekly newspaper, delivered free to 87,000 homes in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. East End Life churns out relentless good news about the ruling elite in the Town Hall. Previously, it was Labour, now it is Executive Mayor, Lutfur Rahman. And the cost of this to Tower Hamlets taxpayers? A cool £1.5 million a
Last week, Tower Hamlets Cabinet could have taken the decision to scrap East End Life. They could have diverted that £1.5 million into adult social care, or children’s services or to housing – there are over 23,000 families on the local waiting list – but no. It will go on, providing no useful service other than to promote the council and the Mayor. Most people do not read it and it goes straight from the letter box to the bin.