Waltham Forest Council tells Government it should be allowed to keep publishing rule-breaking paper
Tom Barnes, Waltham Forest Gazet
Waltham Forest Council has told the Government it should be allowed to flout national rules by publishing its newsletter once a fortnight.
The local authority has made a representation to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) after it was told to stop printing Waltham Forest News twice a month.
Ministers ordered the council to stop publishing the freesheet in December 2016 in an official written notice.
The Government said it was failing to adhere to the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, which restricts councils to printing a newsletter just four times a year.
However, the notice has since been withdrawn and the authority was given time to make a case as to why it should be exempt from the rules.
It has now submitted a response to the ministry.
A MHCLG spokesman said: “Waltham Forest had until January 5 to make representations and has done so.
“The Secretary of State is now considering what next steps to take.”
Waltham Forest Council is spending around £440,000 a year to publish 23 editions of the newsletter.
Previously the local authority has insisted it is saving taxpayers’ money by not paying to instead publish statutory notices in a local paper.
It is one of only two councils in the country, alongside Hackney, still breaking rules on how often it prints its newsletter.
Newham Council was also ordered to cut back on the number of times its freesheet was published in December 2016 and has since complied.
Luton Council agreed to publish its “Lutonline” paper quarterly in July 2016, while Tower Hamlets Council stopped sending out its weekly freesheet after the government intervened in the same year.
A Waltham Forest Council spokesman said: “The Government’s direction from November has been withdrawn.
"Instead, the council were asked to make representations on the Government’s intention to issue a notice.
"We await a response.”
uploaded: Tue, Feb 6 2018
modified: Tue, Dec 30 1969
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