WIRRAL Council is set to defy Government rules to launch its own monthly newspaper.

Ministerial guidelines designed to crack down on so-called “town hall Pravdas” restrict them to four editions a year.

But according to Kevin MacCallum, senior manager for communications and marketing: "The proposed monthly publication and new website will enable us to communicate more effectively with every resident in Wirral while reducing the amount we currently spend.”

It will be produced "using existing resources" requiring no new investment and delivered 12 times per year for "every resident and business."

Additional copies available at supermarkets, hospitals and transport hubs.

And the local authority will also be seeking to attract revenue through selling advertising.

The move has been slammed by Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green who said:"I warned some time ago that when the Labour leader started seeking advice from the likes of hired consultants and policy executives that odd and strange thing would start to happen.

"This is one of the oddest and strangest things I have seen in my years of local government.

"This council should not be trying to break into the newspaper business.

"The council has no money of its own so every penny needs to go into public services or lowering council tax for the hard-pressed people of Wirral.

"We're constantly being told they have no cash for children's services, respite homes and special needs schools - yet they're about to splash out providing a town hall Pravda spouting uncritical 'news' about the glories of the Labour group."

He added: "Finally, their Wirral Pravda flies in the face of Government guidance drawn up to restrict town halls publishing their own propaganda sheets funded by the public purse."

The council today sent an emailed publicity flyer to all its business contacts advising them of their new publication.

Wallasey councillor Ian Lewis said: “At my first meeting with the chief executive of the council I was told how Wirral is in hard times financially and that ‘difficult decisions’ must be made.

"Yet here we are a month later and the council can find the cash to pay for a monthly 'newsletter' telling the people of Wirral the ‘good news’ that presumably can’t be found on the council website, in our libraries, One-Stop Shops or the local paper.

“Anyone would think this was an attempt to make sure the town hall spin is delivered direct to the doors of the grateful taxpayer.

"We need to be told exactly how much this is costing and whether it’s the handwork of the leader’s new £56,000-a-year spin doctor.

“The people making these decisions need to remember it’s not their money they’re wasting, it’s ours.”

Mr MacCallum said: “Our Residents’ Survey last year told us very clearly that people in Wirral wanted more information.

"These findings were a rude awakening for us: they told us the tools we currently use to communicate with residents aren’t powerful enough and aren’t getting the job done.

“Keeping residents well-informed is incredibly important and that’s why we are making communicating with residents a top priority.

“It’s clear that people want access to information and services in different ways.

"The council website alone gets in the region of 3m hits every year and we work with thousands of residents through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

“The proposed monthly publication and new website will enable us to communicate more effectively with every resident in Wirral while reducing the amount we currently spend.”

If approved by the ruling cabinet when they meet on June 27, the first edition would be delivered in autumn.