OLDHAM Council has come under fire after being accused of "cleverly" rebranding a community newspaper.

The Working For You paper published this month has replaced The Borough Life paper which ceased printing over the pandemic, with the last edition printed in spring 2020.

The rebranded newspaper, which will be published three times a year, has been greeted with scepticism by the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservatives who say "nobody asked for" the paper despite the council claiming otherwise.

A Facebook post by the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservatives published on Tuesday reads: “The Borough Life is no more! Consigned to the great blue bin of the Civic Centre.

“Instead, the highly paid communications team at Oldham Council have ‘cleverly rebranded’ (no doubt taking hours of meetings to decide and at great expense) the newspaper you bought and paid for to ...Oldham Council, ‘Working for You’.”

The post continues: “You used to get a booklet of key contacts for council services with your council tax bill. It was two sheets of A4 altogether. Now we will be forced to pay for three editions of a newspaper nobody asked for.”

Commenting on the Facebook post, Royton North Conservative councillor, Dave Arnott, said: “Local newspapers are meant to be the life blood of democracy and commercial activities in a town like Oldham, they should not be replaced by council backed newspapers, which do nothing to enhance democracy and accountability. Council owned newspapers take money away from real newspapers, which are produced by real journalists.

“We would rather officer time and taxpayers’ money is spent on frontline services that people can use.”

In response, Cllr Arooj Shah, leader of Oldham Council, said: “I find it very disappointing that some people are trying to make political capital from this. If those people claiming that ‘nobody asked for this’ took the time to speak to communities across the borough, they would learn that not everyone in Oldham is online, and some people still want information on council services in a traditional format, delivered through their doors.”