Local shops have welcomed proposals to restrict Councils’ ability to publish free ‘news sheets’ and seek to end the unfair competition that these provide to important local and regional commercial newspapers.
Association of News Retailing (ANR) managing director John Lennon said: “Local and regional newspapers are an important tradition in the UK and continue to provide an important independent source of news for local people. The encroachment of subsidised Council publications has taken away advertising revenue from the commercial sector and undermined sales for retailers. Action is needed to stem this damaging threat to the future of the industry.”
The proposed new code of practice would prohibit councils from publishing more than four ‘news sheets’ a year, limit the amount of permitted commercial advertising and provide strict rules on the permitted content of the papers. Ministers are seeking views on the proposals which are subject to public consultation until the 10 November 2010.
Lennon continued: “ANR will respond to the consultation and stress the need for swift implementation of new rules and the continued support of the regional and local newspaper industry.”