Conservative councillor criticises Tower Hamlets’ Olympic publications

A Tower Hamlets councillor has lambasted Tower Hamlets council’s East End Life newspaper after it published several pull-out supplements to coincide with the Olympics.

Peter Golds, councillor for Blackwall and Cubitt Town and leader of the Conservative group, criticised the council for its continued contravention of government regulations, which were published in February 2011.

The renewed crticism follows the publication of a series of supplements marking the Olympics. These include a total of six four page pull-outs scheduled throughout the summer, at a cost of �30,000 to the tax-payer - �1,250 per page.

Cllr Golds said: “The ongoing publication of East End Life, propaganda at considerable public expense, continues to bemuse residents who are aware of the regulations passed by Parliament on the production of council funded newspapers.

“Even more disturbing is the so-called “Olympic Supplement. Serious questions should be asked about the publicly funded bodies which have advertised in the supplement. Public money is being used for the purpose of creative accounting to assist in the pretence that East End Life is financially viable. This must stop and I for one look forward to the proposed legislation that will see the end of East End Life.”

However, Tower Hamlets council vigrously defended the production of a supplement marking the Olympics, despite its’ apparent violation of the government’s guidelines. These state that council publications should not seek to emulate commercial newspapers, and should not include content other than information about the services and amenities of the council.

The council admitted the supplement was partly aimed at people from outside the borough, but continue to dispute the contention that it violates government guidelines.

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A spokesperson said: “We are proud to be an Olympic host borough which is a once in a lifetime opportunity to promote Tower Hamlets on an international level.

“The idea behind the Olympic supplements was to attract visitors to the area for the Olympics and beyond, to boost the local economy and to let residents know about changes to services.”

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