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Under-fire council freesheet wins top prize

A controversial council-run newspaper has scooped a top prize in the annual Local Government Communications Awards.

East End Life, Tower Hamlets Council’s weekly newspaper, is distributed free to almost 80,000 homes in the east London borough each week.

It has been criticised by East London Advertiser editor Malcolm Starbrook on the grounds of its cost and editorial agenda.

But at a recent award ceremony in London it was recognised as the best in the country for keeping local people informed of the work of the council.

Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Communications at Tower Hamlets Council, Councillor Sirajul Islam, was delighted with the result.

He said: “East End Life was first established to ensure we could keep our community informed of the work of the council and issues of local interest.

“It has gone from strength to strength since it was set up in 1993. I’m always told how much local people look forward to it coming through their letter boxes each week and to be recognised nationally in this way is great news.”

A survey in the Advertiser showed 70 per cent of people thought the paper, which the Advertiser asserts costs the taxpayer £340,000 a year, and was “a waste of money.”

Tower Hamlets confirmed the annual cost as £304,000 – and reiterated its business plan to bring the subsidy down to zero by 2012.