Northamptonshire County Council website ads ‘overstep the mark’

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Advertising space is to be sold to private companies on the Northamptonshire County Council website, the authority has confirmed.

The council said the money raised would be reinvested into its website and will generate between £25,000 and £50,000 a year.

It is similar to schemes that other English councils have entered into, where the adverts have to meet a criteria of acceptability, such as nothing that is inappropriate to children.

Other banned content includes tobacco, alcohol, pornography and adult content, gambling and betting services, political organisations and lobby groups,

Even so, some politicians have criticised a neutral tax payer-funded body selling its patronage and implied seal of approval to companies.

Tony Clarke, the town’s former MP who is now the Parliamentary candidate in Northampton North for the Green Party, said “Most people are starting to lose faith in the county council.

“Raising £50,000 will barely even cover the cost of offering the service,” he said.

“I’m not against councils making some money from private companies but this is different.

“As a local authority, you have to safeguard your integrity and they have overstepped the mark here.”

A Northamptonshire County Council spokeswoman said: “From this month, we will be running adverts on our website in order to raise funds to reinvest in a new web platform. It is expected that this will generate between £25,000 and £50,000 per year.

“This is an initial six-month trial, after which we will decide whether or not to continue.”