Tower Hamlets Council has announced it will reduce the frequency of its East End Life newspaper from weekly to fortnightly for the time being.
The announcement comes after mayor John Biggs announced in November the council-produced newspaper would not continue in its present form, but Conservatives believe he has not gone far enough, and that the paper should be scrapped altogether
A council spokeswoman said: “ Tower Hamlets Council has recently undertaken a review of its communications activity carried out by the Local Government Association. The review team were invited to look at how the council communicates with residents and its partners, and how it can provide a top-quality service in the future.
“The review also included East End Life and explored options about its frequency and format and separately the Mayor has taken a decision for East End Life to reduce in frequency to fortnightly from January.”
This arrangement will continue until March at which point the mayor wants to comply with the Code Of Recommended Practice On Local Authority Publicity. This states that councils should publish no more than four newsletters a year.
In a pre-election leaflet, Mayor John Biggs pledged to “Scrap East End Life and replace it with something more useful and not full of propaganda”.
He also said at a meeting in November that East End Life did not have a future as a weekly newspaper.
Tower Hamlets Conservatives are not happy, as they believe Mayor Biggs’s pledges require him to scrap the paper completely.
Cllr Chris Chapman (Con, Blackwall and Cubitt Town) said: “Abolishing East End Life represents a huge saving for taxpayers. Currently £1.5 million of taxpayers money is spent on what amounts to political advertising and propaganda.
“Frequently there are 10 or more articles about the Mayor and his administration each week. It’s time for the money wasted on East End Life to be directed to front line services which actually benefit residents and not vanity publishing like East End Life.”