Communities Secretary Eric Pickles promises legislation on Town Hall newspapers

Town Hall newspapers such as the �1.2m free sheet distributed by Tower Hamlets council will be banned under statute in the New Year, the government has pledged.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has previously introduced regulations to clamp down on what he describes as “town hall Pravdas”, but is now promising tougher measures backed by law.

Speaking at a meeting of regional newspaper editors in Westminster last week, Mr Pickles said he would legislate to tackle the problem of “a bunch of hard core authorities” – such as Tower Hamlets - which continue to publish council papers.

The council has previously insisted that its weekly publication of East End Life complies with government regulations, which aim to prevent local authorities publishing newspapers more than four times a year.

A spokesperson for the council said it would comment on the plans when Mr Pickles sets out his legislative agenda in more detail.

It has previously insisted that its �1.2m annual budget is covered by advertising revenue. But almost half of the advertising revenue generated through East End Life comes from the budgets of council departments, funded by the tax-payer.