The shadow local government minister has urged the Welsh government to rethink a council tax bill which threatens local news. 

Conservative MS Peter Fox, said: “Local papers play an incredibly important role in democracy, holding both the Welsh Government and local authorities to account. 

“Independent research and the Welsh Government’s own impact assessment of the Bill show that printed local newspapers are an essential platform for ensuring the public, particularly the elderly, disenfranchise and those living in rural areas, have access to critical information that will have a profound impact on their lives. 

“I fear that this is the thin end of the wedge and could lead to the removal of other important notices that many people across Wales rely on. 

 “I hope that the Labour Ministers change their mind and keep this incredibly important requirement, protecting both scrutiny and local journalism.” 

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Editors of news media titles in Wales recently warned of the harmful consequences for local democratic engagement if the Welsh government presses ahead with plans to remove council tax notices from printed local newspapers. 

The changes could trigger the removal of other types of public notices from local papers and editors warn this would leave the population disenfranchised and unable to access information that impacts their lives.  

Gavin Thompson, Newsquest regional editor, Wales, said: “Six out 10 of our local newspapers in Wales would have been loss-making last year without public notice revenue and, as a commercial business, we cannot continue to run titles that are loss-making. 

“The Welsh government has shown its support for local journalism in the past and must do so again by abandoning this dangerous plan which will wreak havoc on local news provision in Wales.”