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Council freesheet finds new ways to balance books

PUBLISHED: 15:26 04 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:07 13 July 2010

THE Town Hall is to continue with its system of creative accounting to show its controversial newssheet East End Life breaking even by 2012, according to forecasts. East End Life s chief salesman Chris Payne has told Tower Hamlets counci

By Ted Jeory

THE Town Hall is to continue with its system of creative accounting to show its controversial newssheet East End Life "breaking even" by 2012, according to forecasts.

East End Life's chief salesman Chris Payne has told Tower Hamlets council bosses that he can make the paper run at a "surplus" within a few years.

He will only be able to do that by continuing to include in the accounts ghost advertising sales revenue "earned" from other council departments.

The newssheet costs more than £1.4million a year to run.

However, but the council claims the net costs are just £300,000 because it earns

around £500,000 from selling adverts to non-Town Hall customers and about the same again from internal sources.

But the £500,000 from internal sources is purely ghost revenue derived from billing other council departments for public notices and homes for rent.

It is not real revenue, yet the council continues to use it to "justify" the cost of East End Life.

The council has admitted to the Advertiser that it officially "competes" with proper private sector newspapers and it does this by using tax money to undercut rivals.

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