Politicians have slammed Waltham Forest Council for being “too carefree” with taxpayers money by publishing its illegal freesheet.

The authority has been ordered to stop publishing its newsletter twice a month by the government, but has so far flouted every order.

It now hopes to take the fight to a judicial review hearing, despite strict orders from the Secretary of State to stop.

The council will meet on June 5 to whether to formally challenge the Government’s decision to cease the public of the Waltham Forest News

The council cabinet has been recommended to approve a challenge which will instigate judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State.

The newspaper, which is legally only allowed to be printed four times a year, costs maximum of £417,000 a year to print.

In 2017/2018, its “wasted” £370,000 of taxpayers money.

Susan Hall, a Conservative member of the Greater London Authority, branded the council’s refusal “unfair” on the taxpayer.

She said: “The council should be spending money on frontline services and not on promoting their own views.”

Keith Prince, the Conservative assembly member for nearby Redbridge and Havering, said: “Labour are being care free with other people’s money publishing the newsletter twice a month.

“It seems to me that Labour are wasting resources, why don’t they just obey the law?”

Caroline Russell, the Green Party assembly, wrote a letter to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in December 2016.

She said the local paper in Hackney – the Hackney Citizen – was facing unfair competition from the fortnightly council newsletter.

The council newsletter – Hackney Today – promotes their work in the borough and is produced bi-monthly.

Ms Russell told the Guardian Series: “Having a free, local press unhindered by unfair competition is essential to democracy – and keeping elected officials accountable.

“Councils should stick to the rules set by the Government instead of launching costly reviews. If councils want to communicate with people living in the borough outside of quarterly newsletters they have other options as that’s exactly what local media is for.”

She also asked whether it was fair whether Hackney council’s taxpayer funded newsletter was competing commercially with the Hackney Citizen.

In 2017 the London assembly economy committee published a report on local news organisations in London.

The report ‘The fate of local news – read all about it’ said: “Local newspapers have, in some cases, been negatively affected by local authorities regularly publishing their own newsletters.

“While these newsletters have their place, they should not be a substitute for local news.

“The Government’s intervention to clamp down on how frequently these publications are produced will help local newspapers.”

A spokesperson for Waltham Forest council said: “We believe Waltham Forest News provides residents with reliable coverage of local news, information and events.

“It reaches every household in the borough and contains a thorough guide to what is happening in the local area for residents as well as information on how residents can access services and benefits that the council provides.

“It also fulfils our legal obligations to print public notices in a fortnightly publication without having to spend taxpayers’ money on expensive advertising in the commercial press.”