THE cost of delivering Wirral Council’s controversial free monthly newspaper Wirral View has risen by £16,500 a year.

It means pushing the paper through your letterbox every month is landing taxpayers with a whacking £126,000 annual bill.

Following complaints many homes and businesses in the borough were not receiving their copy, the local authority has terminated the contract of the distribution company and awarded it to another – but with an extra cost.

However the town hall's communications chief says additional money needed for delivery will be cancelled-out by reducing freelance and photographic costs.

April is proving to be a testing time for Wirral View.

Election "Purdah" rules have made it impossible to produce an edition with the ballot for Merseyside metro mayor taking place in May.

And at the same time an online petition has been launched calling for the paper to be scrapped altogether.

Tory councillor Adam Sykes said: “The cabinet needs to know when to call it a day and for Wirral View, that day has come.

"With so many people still not receiving it, even though we are all paying for it, the rising cost of distribution cannot be justified."

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist said: "Distribution of the newspaper has been patchy.

"It now looks as though more money is being spent to tackle that.

"Much of the material has been going on the council’s website - so this looks even more wasteful."

In an email to Cllr Gilchirst seen by the Globe, council head of communications Kevin MacCallum said: "The costs for distribution have now increased from £9,000 per edition to £10,500 per edition.

"Another local organisation is now doing the distribution and some of the distribution is being undertaken by Royal Mail.

"This additional expenditure will be accounted for through reducing the spend associated with copy writing and photography with more work being delivered in-house.

"Therefore Wirral View will not cost any additional funds and will stay within the original total costs provided to cabinet in June of last year.

"The saving which will be accrued through producing no April edition will be £18,600 gross."

The troubled paper set the council on collision course with the Department for Communities & Local Government from the word go as it breaks the publicity code.

The rules state town hall papers should not be published more than quarterly and must not resemble commercial newspapers.


Meanwhile Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green is urging people to sign his "Scrap Wirral View" petition saying: "Six months down the line and the newspaper is beset with problems."

Labour leader of the council Cllr Phil Davies said: “Wirral is well served by a free, independent press and it is clear the Wirral Globe and other titles in the area do an excellent job.

"However we maintain there is a major need for the council and other public bodies to be able to provide public service information to residents – to help them access those services and find out about support which is available to them. 

"It also actually saves us almost £100,000 a year.

"The local Tory group seem to be obsessed with Wirral View. I think it’s a shame Cllr Jeff Green thinks this is a good use of his time.

"I would have thought, as leader of the opposition in Wirral, he may have found some time to support the people and businesses of New Ferry after the terrible events there last weekend.

"Unfortunately we have heard nothing – from him or any member of his group.

"It seems taking cheap shots at Wirral View is much higher up their list of priorities than supporting local residents and businesses.”

You can see the petition document here