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Council faces calls to axe six-a-year newspaper

A council newspaper which is published six times a year at a cost of £208,000 is facing calls for it to be scrapped.

The Labour and Conservative opposition groups at Bristol City Council have called for the Our City publication to be axed completely, saying it can no longer be justified under budget cuts which need to be made.

But the ruling Liberal Democrats are planning to cut the number of issues from six to four a year, reducing the cost to £140,000, in their budget proposals for 2011/12 which are set to be agreed next Tuesday.

Last week, communities secretary Eric Pickles published a revised Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, which sets a four-a-year limit on council newspapers so they do not damage the local press.

Peter Abraham, Conservative deputy leader at the council, told the Bristol Evening Post: “We’ve not agreed with this newspaper for a very long time.

“I do not see value in it, and there is little real information. It is a waste of space. It does nothing and it costs money.

“If it’s a choice between Our City and a school support teacher, I choose the support teacher.”

Council leader Barbara Janke said a select committee had been set up to look at how the authority communicates and the cost of this, which would meet in April.

She said: “The opposition’s call for us to cancel future editions of Our City is therefore premature – and it is typical of the general opportunism and triviality of the budget amendments proposed by both parties.”

Around 190,000 copies of Our City are produced each print run and distributed to homes across Bristol.