Somerset County Council’s seasonal free ‘newspaper’ – Your Somerset – is being flagrantly used to promote “One Somerset”, the flimsy and unimaginative proposal for a single unitary authority.
This is a direct breach of the rules set out by the Department of Housing Communities and Local Government.
Public money should not be used in this way.
I have no doubt that the county will attempt to wriggle off the hook on this issue, but I am also quite sure that their opponents will be pointing out the facts in no uncertain terms to Whitehall officials.
Your Somerset has already published a questionnaire which is being used to try and persuade Ministers that “One Somerset” is popular.
Somerset County Council has already multiplied its public relations team, at a very high cost, to help smooth-talk the public.
Ultimately it is council tax payers and the government itself that provides these expensive resources.
I do not remember being asked if I minded . I am sure it will stick in the throats of many of my constituents that we are now helping to finance a propaganda campaign.
Your Somerset allegedly costs 5p per copy to produce – they print tens of thousands of them.
Today I raised the whole matter in the House of Commons with the Leader of the House, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg: