Greenwich Council are seeking to spend £1.3 million on a new four year print contract for their Greenwich Info magazine including £400k for printing and £900k for distribution.
In recent years the authority came in for heavy criticism for spending large sums on its weekly Greenwich Time newspaper – one of only two local authorities out of more than 350 in the country that produced a weekly paper. The only other was Tower Hamlets.
The Government cracked down and Greenwich Council eventually ceased production in 2016 with an out of court settlement but only after spending £80,000 trying to keep it going. They then launched the fortnightly Greenwich Info which features less pages.
The former Greenwich Time was often referred to as Pravda for its relentless positive spin on the council and its activities. Many issues in the borough highlighted on sites such as this and 853 would not be covered.
The latest issue of Greenwich Info puts out a glowing, one-sided take on housing and education.
A 750 council home target from 2022 is mentioned alongside 17,000 on the housing waiting list and 800 homeless households, yet there is no mention that the council’s cabinet recently approved selling public land on estates to a private developer for pocket flats (barely over the legal size limit) only affordable to those earning above £35,000 a year, nor that the council launched a £65 million house buying program at the peak of a property cycle. The council’s own figures revealed that buying existing homes off the market was the worst option for providing homes for those in need even before prices in the borough fell 10%.
Information on what homes were purchased is also kept secret thus value for money cannot be judged.
Green issues are covered but again, only positive news is featured with these comments:
Myriad issues with pollution and congestion are not featured.
Those kind of positive statements are common in Greenwich Info. With the paper being sent to most (all?) homes in the borough its easy to see why it is criticised as unbalanced and one-sided.
Council’s are obliged to provide certain information in print form – though many authorities print it solely in other publications or print less frequently than every fortnight.
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