There's more fuel for the debate over council-run newspapers in the UK today, with one local newspaper revealing that its council-supported rival costs taxpayers almost £28,000 a month.
In the town of Salford, near Manchester, the council magazine Life in Salford competes with newspapers the Salford Star and Salford Advertiser. The Salford Star filed a freedom of information request to determine the cost of producing the council magazine. It determined that the council spends £27,797 per month, or an average of £333,564 per year.
By contrast, outside advertising income for the paper totaled just over £19,000 for eight issues.
The Star points out that ten months after the Council withdrew thousands of pounds of advertising from the Salford Advertiser, the local paper is no longer being delivered for free to homes in its local area. It is available at a cost from local newsagents.
The article said: "We would argue that Salford Council spending £333,564 of Salford residents' council tax on its own publication has profound implications for democracy and accountability. While the Salford Star and the Salford Advertiser are only available free online, an estimated two thirds of Salford's population do not have access to the internet."