Scotland

Ministers to reconsider council advertising switch

Councils could be allowed to pull their adverts out of newspapers under plans to be considered by the Scottish government.

Finance Secretary John Swinney signalled the government would be prepared to look again at whether councils could move adverts highlighting road closures and applications for planning permission on to the internet.

Similar proposals were dropped last year in the face of intense opposition by some newspaper publishers.

Although councils could have saved millions, it was feared that people without good internet access could lose out and there were questions over the continuing viability of some newspapers.

Since then a website has been set up, which some councils are already using to highlight their public notices.

However, this in addition to traditional newspaper advertising.

Over the past 18 months, the sales of most newspapers have continued to decline and the number of people with the internet at home has risen. However, Scots are still the least likely in the UK to have the internet at home.

Newspaper publishers are expected to lobby hard against the moves, but many councils were disappointed when the government dropped its proposals last year following a hostile vote in the Scottish Parliament.

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