Court of Appeal ruling on Hackney Today
The Council has received the Court of Appeal's decision on its request to appeal a High Court ruling that it stop fortnightly publication of Hackney Today, as directed by the Government. The Court of Appeal judge has rejected the request. There are no more legal options available to the Council, so Hackney Today will no longer be published fortnightly.
The Council is now considering how best it can continue to keep the borough’s diverse communities informed of services and opportunities available to them in a cost-effective way which complies with the Government’s legal direction.
It’s extremely disappointing that we will no longer be able to publish Hackney Today fortnightly. As well as saving the Council tens of thousands of pounds by not having to pay to advertise statutory notices in the local press, it was by far one of our most effective and popular ways to communicate with our diverse communities.
“We know it was especially valued by our older residents, young families, social housing tenants, people on benefits and those with disabilities. Indeed, many people from these groups, or organisations representing them, have expressed their sadness about the loss of Hackney Today. It contains different editorial content to local newspapers, and has been invaluable to the Council in supporting people during austerity, informing them about complex issues and promoting community cohesion. There is also nothing else out there that gives so much space to celebrating the wonderful diversity at the heart of Hackney. The borough will be a poorer place without it.
“Taking legal action was not something the Council did lightly. However, our priority has always been about informing and empowering our diverse communities, as well as making the most of our reduced funding, and we believed the strong case for continuing fortnightly publication of Hackney Today justified our judicial review at the High Court and our request to appeal. The money saved by not having to pay to advertise statutory notices - such as planning applications and road closures - during this period vastly outweighs the legal costs we incurred.
“We now face a situation where tens of thousands of pounds will have to be diverted away from services and towards paying for notices in a local newspaper where they will be seen by far fewer people, and a heightened risk of people who may benefit from Council services and opportunities no longer finding out about them.
“We are now considering our options on how we replace fortnightly publication of Hackney Today, and strike the best balance between cost and keeping as many residents as possible informed about Council services, consultations and policies, what opportunities and support is available to them, and aware of the work of our public sector partners and local charities and community groups.