A council magazine delivered free of charge to around 380,000 households in West Sussex is a ‘propaganda tool’ and should be scrapped, according to one Lib Dem councillor.
According to West Sussex County Council’s website Connections is its ‘flagship publication, keeping both residents and businesses up to date with the latest news about our services’.
It is published three times a year and sent to approximately 381,000 households at a cost of around ten pence per household, which would equate to £38,000 a year.
However Bob Smytherman, Lib Dem county councillor for Tarring in Worthing, believes Connections should be scrapped given the huge budget pressures the Tory-led county council is facing.
He said: “I have long argued that idea that local councils producing ‘glossy’ magazines that are nothing more than a propaganda tool for the Tory administration should be scrapped.”The current issue features an appeal for more on-call firefighters, tips on preparing for winter, advice to reduce food waste and information on the council’s financial position.
A spokesperson for the county council said: “Connections is published three times a year and is delivered to approximately 381,000 households across West Sussex at a cost of around 10 pence per household. It is also online, and an audio edition is produced for residents who are blind or partially sighted.
“The newspaper does not carry any political opinion pieces by or photographs of county councillors. It contains helpful and important information for residents on the wide range of services provided by the county council and its partners.
“For example, the latest issue included articles on school application deadlines, useful phone numbers and emergency contacts for support during the winter months and information on the assistance available for people who are caring for family members as well as working. It provides information residents would otherwise not have or know where to look for.
“We are constantly reviewing West Sussex Connections and the best ways to deliver useful information to residents – via our county local committees, our website, social media and through the press.”
To read the latest issue of Connections online click here