A free newspaper produced by a local council at a cost of £173,000 over four years has been slammed as a “costly ego-trip.”
Since 2011, Bolton Council has spent £253,000 on its free title The Bolton Scene, which it delivers to 121,000 homes across the borough.
Of that sum, £173,000 was paid for from council budgets while the rest was met from external advertising.
Cllr Andrew Martin said: “Our view is that the newspaper is an extended and expensive ego trip for the council.
“Very few people take the time to read it and when the roads are in a terrible state and services are being cut, it shouldn’t be a priority for the council.
“It’s a waste of money, and just shows Labour is out of touch with what people really want in Bolton.”
But Bolton council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said the council had a duty to tell residents what the authority was doing.
He said: “We have a duty to communicate to the people of Bolton and we do that through the Scene — it probably covers 90pc of the borough.
“We use the Scene to encourage more customers to use the council website, because it is generally the cheapest way to do business, and for families to apply for school places as it is a more efficient process.”
A council spokesman added: “Bolton Council has produced Bolton Scene for many years as part of our commitment to inform the public about the work of their council, as we are required to do under local government legislation.
“We use it to communicate the many things that the council does from information about recycling and attracting residents to become foster carers and adopters to promoting events and councillors’ surgeries. It is an efficient way of reaching as many people as possible with a large range of information.
The number of editions of council newspapers allowed to be published each year has been slashed by local government minister Eric Pickles from 12 to four.