HEREFORDSHIRE Council spends more than £74,000 a year on a free self-promotional magazine critics call “Pravda”.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveals the total cost of Herefordshire Matters – produced by Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire – over the current financial year was £74,505.

The direct cost of printing one edition of the magazine is £7,000 – or £28,000 per year – with the council funding the printing costs.

In its response to the FoI request, the council confirms that 82,500 copies of Herefordshire Matters are produced per edition to be distributed by Royal Mail.

NHS Herefordshire funds the distribution costs and the typical direct cost for distribution has been £7,000 per edition, or £28,000 per year.

However, recent price increases mean that the next edition will cost around £7,600 to distribute.

An estimate of the cost in staff time to produce each edition is put at £4,626 or £18,505 a year.


Herefordshire Matters was publically branded “Pravda” at a meeting of the full council in 2010 when questions were raised about its existence and the sum spent on it.

Then, the council was said to be budgeting around £75,000 on the magazine or some £12,500 per edition with advertising revenue estimated at £30,000 a year.

Later that year the council stood by the magazine when local government secretary Eric Pickles toughened up the rules on council publications saying less should be spent on “Pravdas that end up in the bin” at the expense of frontline services.

In August this year the Hereford Times reported calls by disability campaigners for cash spent on Herefordshire Matters to instead be channelled towards carer support.