Govt to put more disabled people in its ads

The Government has set up a review aimed at ensuring that more disabled people appear in its advertising campaigns.

The Government has set up a review aimed at ensuring that more disabled people appear in its advertising campaigns.

COI Communications is conducting research and consulting pressure groups representing the disabled following criticism that people with disabilities were rarely represented in campaigns run by Whitehall departments.

Margaret Hodge, the employment minister, proposed the initiative at the Department for Education and Employment, and has won the backing of Downing Street. Hodge believes that the Government, as one of Britain's biggest advertisers, should use its pounds 113 million-a-year budget to ensure a greater representation of disabled people.

The review could result in agencies working for the Government being urged to feature more people with disabilities, although ministers admit that this would not be appropriate in all campaigns.

One Government source said: 'We support the idea in principle that disabled people should be part of the mainstream and not excluded from society.

We want to make sure that departments treat them the same as everyone else.'

The source added: 'But we recognise that this is a very sensitive issue and has to be handled carefully. It is unexplored territory.'

The move also raises questions about the role of politicians in government advertising. Some agencies may be wary about direct interference by ministers in their campaigns, although ministers see the proposal as a one-off, which would not set a precedent.


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