Welsh government u-turns on plans to remove council notices

Posted on: July 10, 2024 by Claire Meadows

The Society of Editors has welcomed a decision by the Welsh government to u-turn on proposals to end the statutory requirement for local councils to publish council tax notices in local papers.

The proposal, which had been criticised by the Society on the basis that it would create a ‘democratic deficit’ harmful to local communities, was abandoned at the last minute as the Welsh Government abstained in a crunch vote. The decision to abstain came after Wales’ six daily newspapers ran a joint front page campaign on Monday asking the government in Wales to think again. 

Although questioning the impact that the proposal would have on the sustainability of local journalism, Minister Rebecca Evans said that she recognised the “strength of feeling” on the issue and that it required “wider discussion”. 

Speaking to the Senedd, Evans said that she did not think it was “reasonable to argue that the loss of revenue generated from one advert per financial year, which might bring in as little as £600, would make a newspaper unsustainable”.

“But I do agree with colleagues this afternoon who have talked about the importance of having that wider discussion about what’s really a much more complex issue in terms of how we support local media and also how we communicate most effectively with residents.”

She added: “I do absolutely recognise the strength of feeling amongst colleagues on this particular issue, and I’m always keen to find areas of compromise, where we can, and to work with other parties.”