Local Publishers Call On Welsh Government To Keep Council Tax Notices In Local Papers

The chief executives of local news publishers representing more than 30 titles in Wales reaching 2.4 million adults in print and digital every month – 90 per cent of the population of Wales – have called on the Welsh government to abandon plans to remove council tax notices from local newspapers, warning of the risks to democratic engagement.

In a letter to Minister for Finance and Local Government Rebecca Evans MS, Danny Cammiade, The Tindle Group chief executive and News Media Association chairman; Jim Mullen, Reach plc chief executive; and Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest chief executive, have called on the Welsh government to remove Section 20 from the Local Government Finance (Wales) Bill. If it became law, Section 20 would effectively remove the statutory requirement on local authorities to publish council taxes in printed local newspapers.

In the open letter today, the chief executives said: “Without the statutory requirement, we fear that many people who rely on local newspapers would be unable to access the notices leading to a democratic deficit – a position supported by the Bill’s own impact assessment.

“The move could also trigger the removal of other types of notices from local newspapers, removing a significant revenue stream which directly supports the provision of local journalism in Wales. If public notices were removed from local papers, there would undoubtedly be title closures across the industry as many papers would become unsustainable.”

The open letter can be found here. The Senedd will have one more opportunity to remove Section 20 from the Bill during the Stage Three debate on 9 July.