Written evidence from Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson,
It was a pleasure to be able to come to the Select Committee a few weeks ago when you were looking at the issue of council newspapers. I am writing to you as the Select Committee is a committee of record and that when you make your decisions you need to have the correct information.
The day before the hearing I called Portsmouth City Council to check a figure that I had not been provided with. I wanted to know how much the City Council spent on advertising within our local paper, The News. The figure that I was given over my mobile phone was £970,000. This was the figure that I gave the committee. It has now come to my attention that this is the amount of money the city council spends on advertising across a range of media including space in newspapers, but that not all of this was in the The News. Of the £970,000 the part spent on buying space in The News was £227,980.
I am not sure how I got the wrong figure to give to you. The only figure I was given was £970,000. It may have been that while on the phone I was not clear enough in framing my question of a colleague in the City Council, or that I mistook the breadth of the answer. For whatever reason the figure I gave you and the committee was the correct spend by the Council, but it was not all spent on the one local newspaper. This new information came to me yesterday and I thought I should write to you and the committee straight away.
I hope this sets the record right, and that the committee now has the correct information. My apologies that I misunderstood the information I was given and passed on to you.