GREENWICH Council will ignore government guidelines and continue to publish its own weekly newspaper.

The council’s cabinet agreed to continue its Greenwich Time freesheet despite a recently published code of practice which recommended council papers should not be published more than quarterly.

Cabinet members lined up to defend the paper - branded propaganda by its opponents - with many citing its use to keep people informed of available council housing.

Proposals by other publishers to provide an alternative were also effectively dismissed, with councillors saying no other model could match Greenwich Time’s distribution and cost-effectiveness.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara said she never understood “the screeching and shouting” from the paper’s critics.

She said: “I think it’s very mean-spirited and biased in fact of anybody to complain about the weekly publication of this newspaper.”

Councillor Jackie Smith said the paper was the only publication to show young people in a positive light.

She said: “I welcome the fact we’re able to use a council newspaper to give a quite balanced view of what’s going on with young people.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Ministers have made clear that councils should spend less time and money on weekly town hall newspapers that end up in the bin, and focus more on frontline services like providing regular rubbish collections.

"Our new code of practice makes it crystal clear that taxpayers' money is not for printing town hall Pravdas.

“If anyone has concerns that a council’s expenditure on publicity is wasteful, they can raise it with the local independent auditor who has a range of powers to challenge the council’s actions.

“Tightening the code governing council publicity will help local journalism continue to act as the independent voice of the community, holding local government to account."