Publish and be damned?

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Councillor Jim Swift criticised East Renfrewshire’s magazine ER for providing “little value to local residents”.

Commenting via last week’s Extra letter page, Mr Swift complained that the magazine is an “utter waste of money and ends up just being photo-shoot opportunities for councillors”.

A council spokesman replied: “The er magazine costs less than 27p per copy to produce and deliver to every home.

“The aim is to deliver information about local services to encourage more residents to access them. It actually carries very few photographs of councillors and has consistently been the first choice among residents when asked for their preferred method of communication in our Citizen’s Panel surveys.

“We are keen to push much more of our communication online including er magazine”.

As ever, we asked the people of East Renfrewshire what they thought .

Bob Perrie, an 80-year-old from Newton Mearns, believes the glossy provides a “valuable resource to the community.

“It is not everybody who is out and about all the time, and not everybody uses the internet. I read it with interest every time it comes through the door”.

Less enamoured by the quarterly is George Knight, a 53-year-old pupil support assistant from Eaglesham.

He said: “It is probably useful to some people, but most can use the internet to find out the information if they actually want it.

“I would suggest a newsletter detailing council activities that can be sent on request. It would save money”.

Newton Mearns based truck driver Craig Park (45) believes the magazine is “just full of council propaganda. I never read it any more”.

Wife Susan, a 35-year-old retail manager, added: “All it does is add to paper waste. The council needs to put the money towards real problems like potholes”.

Retired engineer James Carroll “would not miss the magazine if it was gone”.

The 71-year-old from Clarkston added: “It is a waste of money and the council has plenty of other things it should be spending money on instead”.

On the other side of the debate is Carol Hay, a 63-year-old from Newton Mearns. She told The Extra: “It is very handy for being kept up to date and it is a reliable reminder of what s going on in the community”.

But Tom Park (a 62-year-old model maker from Clarkston) and Patricia Stewart (a 54-year-old teacher from Busby) both would not miss it.

Mr Park would “prefer the money be spent on roads” while Mrs Stewart agrees that there are “better things to be spending council cash on”.