Govt caps parties’ general election spend

By Our Parliamentary correspondent, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 30 July 1999 12:00AM

Labour and the Conservatives are to impose big cuts on their advertising budgets after the Government published proposals to cap the general election spend of each party at pounds 20 million.

Labour and the Conservatives are to impose big cuts on their

advertising budgets after the Government published proposals to cap the

general election spend of each party at pounds 20 million.



Officials in both parties said advertising would be a major casualty of

the curbs outlined in a draft bill issued by the Home Office this week,

which will become law next year.



In the run-up to the 1997 election, the Tories spent pounds 12.7 million

on ads and Labour pounds 7.6 million. The new pounds 20 million ceiling

will cover the 12 months before a general election, so officials believe

the parties will concentrate their fire on the three or four weeks

before polling day.



’It won’t be a priority,’ a Labour source said. ’We will have lots of

other calls on our budget - elections are expensive.’



Although the Conservative Party is expected to outspend Labour in its

attempts to win back public support, Tory officials said their ad budget

would be much smaller than it was in 1997.



The politicians’ scepticism about the value of advertising will be

increased by a new study suggesting it had little impact in the last

general election.



A book by Robert Worcester, chairman of Mori, and his colleague Roger

Mortimore, claims that only 2 per cent of Conservative voters said

posters had influenced the way they intended to vote, while just 5 per

cent of Labour voters had been influenced.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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