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Pasty tax win shows value of local press says editor

A daily editor has cited his own title’s successful campaign to halt the government’s pasty tax as an example of the importance of regional newspapers.

The government axed the controversial Budget plan to put VAT on hot snacks last month after a spirited campaign by several national and regional titles including The Western Morning News and The Journal, Newcastle.

Writing in the WMN, editor Bill Martin described the u-turn as a “triumph for local newspapers” as well as for the region

Bill, left, also praised the campaigning efforts of other regional dailies such as the Derby Telegraph’s fight to keep thousands of jobs at the city’s Bombardier factory.

Wrote Bill: “Victory in the Western Morning News-led Axe the Pasty Tax campaign was a triumph for the West country, and a triumph for the hastily assembled alliance of MPs, pasty firms, business leaders, and ordinary people on the street who took it up so quickly on behalf of the humble pasty.

“It was also a triumph for local newspapers, by demonstrating once again how local titles have a unique ability to unite communities, champion their causes and fight for their aspirations and desires.

“The pasty tax campaign was won two days after the end of Local Newspaper Week, when high-profile figures including Lord Coe, Sir David Jason and Sharron Davies were queuing up to praise their local papers, and say how vital they were to democracy and transparency.

“It is impossible to imagine campaigns like Axe the Pasty Tax or An Industry Betrayed having the cohesion and impact they did without being led by a printed newspaper.

“The efforts that go into a campaign like the WMN’s Axe the Pasty Tax, the Derby Telegraph’s An Industry betrayed, or the Plymouth Herald’s Fly the Flag for Devonport demonstrate how local newspapers value their communities and share their readers’ concerns.

“It is critical for the future that their communities value them as much.”

Bill’s piece can be read in full here.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

    The anti Pasty Tax bandwagon was so widespread that I don’t see how the WMN could claim any particular credit for changing the Government’s mind.
    With several nationals adopting the same line, it’s a very poor example of the importance and influence of the regional press.
    The Derby Telegraph’s Bombardier campaign is a great example of successful regional campaigning – an award-winning example – and the Plymouth Herald’s campaign also fits the bill.

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