The government has confirmed that it will look into rulebreaking from Haringey Council, who appear to be illegally spending thousands of pounds distributing a propaganda magazine around the borough. In response to a question in the House of Lords from Lynne Featherstone, the former MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, government minister Lord Greenhalgh confirmed that officials would take the matter up with Haringey’s Chief Executive as an initial step.
Government guidelines (the Code of Practice for Local Authority Publicity) state that councils may send out magazines to residents no more often than quarterly, but Haringey People goes out six times per year, at a cost of over £20,000 per issue.
The purpose of this provision is to facilitate the creation of an environment which is as conducive as possible to the flourishing of the independent local media. Other councils have previously been rebuked under the code, including neighbouring Enfield in 2014.
Councillor Luke Cawley-Harrison (LD-Crouch End), Leader of the Opposition on Haringey Council, said:
“Our borough is lucky that we still have a flourishing local press, which these guidelines are supposed to protect. However, it seems that Haringey’s Labour-run council is more concerned with promoting themselves at any cost - including using taxpayers’ money. The rules on sending out magazines are quite clear, yet Haringey has continued to flout them, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years beyond what is permissible.”
- Written Question in the House of Lords
- Recommended code of practice for local authority publicity
- Code of practice on local authority publicity: letters to the London Borough of Enfield