Counting the cost of council papers

First published in News

FIGURES released under a Freedom of Information request showed Gwent councils spent more than £200,000 a year on their own free newspapers.

Of the figures released to ITV under the Freedom of Information Act, Caerphilly had the highest annual spend at £81,770 a year. Caerphilly council says it has now reduced that to £50,000.

With that cut in Caerphilly, Gwent’s total would then stand at £180,000.

A spokesman for Caerphilly Council said: “As part of ongoing budget savings, it was agreed that the frequency of Newsline was reduced from six to four this year and the budget has reduced to £50,000.”

Monmouthshire spent nothing, as it dropped its Community Spirit news sheet in 2009.

Blaenau Gwent prints its magazine Connect four times a year, costing £23,200, Torfaen spends £32,157 a year on Torfaen Talks and Newport spends £53,237.24 on Newport Matters.

Newport pointed out that with income taken into account from avenues such as advertising, the net cost was lower, at £42,948.24, while Torfaen said the annual net cost was in the region of £20,000.

A Newport City Council spokeswoman said: “Our duty as a city council is not only to serve but to inform.”

Some criticised the spending on local papers, saying it would be better spent on frontline services.

Allt-yr-yn resident Nick Webb, 34, who receives Newport Matters, said: “I think it’s difficult to justify that level of expense on something that is essentially promotional material for the council.”

He added that councils could communicate their messages with the public by engaging with local newspapers and social media.

Meanwhile David Fouweather, leader of the opposition in Newport, said the budget for Newport Matters should be reduced.

He added: “That money could have been spent, for example, on saving the Handpost Library in my ward.”

But Cwmbran resident Samantha Williams praised her newsletter as a “good way to keep up to date.

Comments (4)

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7:50am Sun 6 Jul 14

paddyparry says...

Torfaen Talks is a waste of time and money. We refer to it as Spot The Wellington, as he seems to have a picture on almost every page. It does not inform but is little more than a modern day Pravda. Reading that everyone would think that all is well in the borough and not slowly falling apart from inaction and incompetence. They have the internet, Free Press and Argus they can use. Why waste money on a free paper. You could say that it helps them achieve their recycling target.
Torfaen Talks is a waste of time and money. We refer to it as Spot The Wellington, as he seems to have a picture on almost every page. It does not inform but is little more than a modern day Pravda. Reading that everyone would think that all is well in the borough and not slowly falling apart from inaction and incompetence. They have the internet, Free Press and Argus they can use. Why waste money on a free paper. You could say that it helps them achieve their recycling target. paddyparry
  • Score: 1

10:57am Sun 6 Jul 14

Gaerian says...

When you are spending people's money whether it is a project for a small company or large public council communication to all the stakeholders os key. How else would everyone get the chance to critique what is being done. Newport matters is a publication that is deilvered to Every household giving all tax payers in the area a chance to see what is happening with our money. Social media is definitely not the answer. How many people are realistically going to add newport council to their twitter or facebook accounts? Keep the paper but collect more advertising revenue is the answer
When you are spending people's money whether it is a project for a small company or large public council communication to all the stakeholders os key. How else would everyone get the chance to critique what is being done. Newport matters is a publication that is deilvered to Every household giving all tax payers in the area a chance to see what is happening with our money. Social media is definitely not the answer. How many people are realistically going to add newport council to their twitter or facebook accounts? Keep the paper but collect more advertising revenue is the answer Gaerian
  • Score: 1

11:13am Sun 6 Jul 14

CrownCourtJester says...

The cost per issue is an important factor.
Work that out and surprise, surprise Blaenau Gwent wastes the most money. (£5,750 per run).
The cost per issue is an important factor. Work that out and surprise, surprise Blaenau Gwent wastes the most money. (£5,750 per run). CrownCourtJester
  • Score: 2

10:31am Mon 7 Jul 14

wardzam says...

Paddyperry comes out with the usual pathetic lies. If you refer to June version of Torfaen Talks, Cllr Wellington appears, possibly as I'm not sure if it him or not as he is not the major person in the picture, only once in nine pages with about 40 articles in it. This is normal. I he were not in it, Paddy would find other reasons to complain. It is informative, particularly for children's activities which are not so prominently or colourfully advertised or reported on in the local papers. If you had ever seen Pravda you would not make such a brainless comment.
Paddyperry comes out with the usual pathetic lies. If you refer to June version of Torfaen Talks, Cllr Wellington appears, possibly as I'm not sure if it him or not as he is not the major person in the picture, only once in nine pages with about 40 articles in it. This is normal. I he were not in it, Paddy would find other reasons to complain. It is informative, particularly for children's activities which are not so prominently or colourfully advertised or reported on in the local papers. If you had ever seen Pravda you would not make such a brainless comment. wardzam
  • Score: -1

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