Council to fight for illegal Waltham Forest News in court - at cost to taxpayer
Alice Richardson, Waltham Forest
Waltham Forest Council has voted to apply to take the government to court over its illegal newsletter – and it will be paid for by the taxpayer.
The authority has vowed to fight “all the way” as it continues to publish its newspaper twice a month despite being told to cut it to four times a year by the Secretary of State.
It began publishing Waltham Forest News seven years ago, at a cost of between £417,000 and £370,000 a year.
Council leader Clare Coghill said the next step is to apply for a judicial review hearing.
She said: "My view is that we should challenge the government's position on this. I feel very strongly that it is right, proper and fair for us as a local authority to be able to communicate with our residents.
"You find me a paid for newspaper that makes fostering front page news and then we'll look again, but we're using our means in an entirely cost neutral way to communicate with our residents.
"It is fundamental to local democracy. I know others will be joining us in this fight.
"The Secretary of State has written to me telling me what to do and I'm not going to do what I'm told and sometimes that's okay."
Deputy council leader Clyde Loakes added: "The reach we have compared to anything else on offer is far, far greater. We're communicating with residents in a way noone else can.
"The government dares to tell us how we communicate with our residents? It is fundamentally flawed and fundamentally wrong and we should fight this all the way to communicate with our residents in the way they wish to be communicated with."
Judicial review costs and costs of the advising barrister will also come out of taxpayers' pockets.
uploaded: Tue, Jun 5 2018
modified: Tue, Dec 30 1969
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