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East End Life free from cuts until results of review

PUBLISHED: 15:35 09 March 2011

Protesters objected to not being allowed in the town hall

Protesters objected to not being allowed in the town hall

Archant

Council propaganda sheet East End Life will stay until a review publishes a report on its usefulness in May, members decided at last night’s budget meeting.

The town hall rag, which poses as a commercial newspaper with restaurant reviews and endorses the work of the council at a cost of £1.56 million a year, could be forced to alter by the government before then though.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has come down hard on these freesheets, saying cash used on them should be redirected to frontline services.

He is expected to announce new guidelines in April.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman insisted he was “not dogmatic” about the future of East End Life but said it “serves the community well.”

He refused to answer when asked if he believed the paper was a frontline service.

He said instead: “It’s about communicating with the residents of this borough about what is going on in this council.”

Some councillors have questioned why there is to be a review into the freesheet when the council did not hold reviews for other major cuts, including ones to children’s services and home care for the elderly and disabled.

Cllr Joshua Peck, deputy Labour leader, said: “A review was not appropriate for housing link and children’s services, a review was not appropriate for moving people out of residential care. Why is it so important for East End Life?”

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