A MOTION to scrap freesheet Greenwich Time was rejected by councillors at a full council meeting.

Greenwich Conservatives were calling for the end of the council's weekly newspaper but an amendment to the motion by Labour councillors received more votes.

Conservative councillor Nigel Fletcher said: “At a time of budget cuts we have to try to look at all aspects of spending.

“Are we really getting value for money for what is being provided? Is this really what we mean by frontline services?”

The Eltham North councillor questioned whether taxpayers' money was being put to good use in the current climate.

Cllr Fletcher said: “Is it really a core function of this council to give a review of Toy Story 3?

“Do we really have a duty to inform our residents that Prince’s new album is his most strongest yet?”

He ended his speech by saying: “At a time of hardship and difficult spending decisions we can make an easy cut.”

Photographs in Greenwich Time

During the debate Conservative councillor for Eltham South Eileen Glover told the council she was airbrushed out of photos which were taken by Greenwich Time at an event in her ward.

She said: “Even if you get yourself in all the pictures you get airbrushed out.”

The meeting heard the councillor managed to make an appearance in a different edition of the paper by changing her hair so she was unrecognisable.

Labour councillor David Grant told the meeting he had also been airbrushed out of photographs.

But the ward councillor for West Greenwich explained he understood the coverage would be of cabinet members.

Councillor Dermot Poston, the Conservative ward councillor for Eltham North, told the meeting he had counted 705 photos of Councillor John Fahy, who is Cabinet Member of Culture and the Olympics, but had never seen a photo of himself.

He said: “It’s a political newspaper that’s supposed to represent this council. I have to say I bitterly resent it.”

Ward councillor for Greenwich West Maureen O’Mara told the meeting Greenwich Time was “important” for people looking at the property section who would not access it online.

The Labour councillor said: “Greenwich Time provides an essential service each week for our residents.”

News Shopper: Chris Roberts

Leader of the council, Councillor Chris Roberts, told the meeting the council was able to deliver all of its statutory notices in the paper on a weekly basis, which had saved “hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The Glyndon ward councillor also insisted Greenwich Time was “not a political paper”. He said it was checked line by line by lawyers before going to print.

Cllr Roberts said: “Greenwich Time will be self-financing. It is very close to that at the moment.

“The cost of Greenwich Time in 2008 was 22p a copy they are now 3.5p a copy. We are already making a significant saving.”

Labour councillor John Fahy said: “The Conservatives fought the election on the argument about Greenwich Time and lost.”

The Woolwich Riverside ward councillor said: “If you take the Mercury and News Shopper they probably report 10 stories in Lewisham and beyond and two or three about the community in Greenwich.”

He added: “I think during the election the News Shopper was an extension of the Conservative news.”

The Conservative’s motion to scrap Greenwich Time was defeated. Labour’s amended motion supported the weekly paper.