‘The Leader’rebuked by Flintshire County Council for intentionally misinforming the public.
Flintshire County Council has asked The Flintshire Leader newspaper which is owned by North Wales Newspapers (NWN) to publish a correction following a story it printed on Friday 11th October.
The story headlined “Council homes transfer plan to be considered” refers in part to information circulated by the council in a press release sent out to all local and regional media organisations, including Deeside.com on Thursday 10th October.
The press release clearly sets out proposals for the establishment of a not for profit housing company to be called ‘Flintshire Homes and Services’
However, the Leader “erroneously” linked the story to the much more controversial and emotive issue, one that was subject to a tenant’s ballot in February 2012, the transfer of all council owned housing to a social landlord.
At the time many tenants were apprehensive about transferring to a social landlord, fearing changes to terms and conditions and potential rent rises, a campaign group was launched ‘Flintshire Against Stock Transfer’ (FAST) it was backed by local MP David Hanson.
In the end 71% of tenants who voted wanted to retain the council as their landlord, to the relief of many tenants.
In an unprecedented move, the council, who appear rattled by the newspapers claims of a new transfer plan, posted a strongly worded statement on its website, it said “This[article] is entirely incorrect. No council homes are affected by this proposal”
The council have demanded the newspaper corrects the article immediately.
Its difficult to see how the Flintshire Leader have made a genuine error given the clarity of the press release, it appears to be another example of an ever increasing amount of sensational and desperate headlines aimed at playing on the fears of the local community, in a effort to shift a few more copies of the newspapers to boost dwindling sales.
“Correction” published on Monday.
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