Row over council ‘propaganda’ magazine which costs taxpayers £36,500 a year

View - AVDC offices, The Gateway, Aylesbury
View - AVDC offices, The Gateway, Aylesbury
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A taxpayer-funded council magazine is still in circulation despite a call for it to be scrapped due to its £36,500 cost and claims of bias towards the ruling Conservatives.

The Aylesbury Vale Times goes out to households in the Vale three times a year at the cost of £12,000 per issue, but the Conservatives quashed efforts from the opposition to shelve it at last night’s Aylesbury Vale District Council meeting.

Cllr Phil Yerby, of UKIP, said: “We’re supposed to be saving money, but we’re paying out £36,500 a year for this?”

Cllr Janet Blake defended the magazine, saying: “It is a salient, valuable publication which reaches the most vulnerable residents.”

The government’s Communities Secretary Eric Pickles recently hit out at council publications, accusing them of publishing ‘propaganda on the rates’.

The motion, proposed by Councillors Cory Cashman and Robin Stutchbury says the magazine has been ‘censored’ and following this opposition politicians quit its editorial board.

It adds: ‘In these circumstances the magazine cannot reasonably claim the impartiality it once boasted’.

Conservatives voted against the motion.

Council leader Neil Blake said: “The elderly cannot access information online so need the Aylesbury Vale Times for that.

“Our financial situation is far from dire. The only time it becomes dire is when ideas run dry, and we’re a long way from that. So I’m sorry, but I cannot vote for the cease of publication.”