NEWS: Tories to double general election budget to pounds 5m

The Conservative Party is planning a massive anti-Labour advertising blitz before the next general election which could cost pounds 5 million.

The Conservative Party is planning a massive anti-Labour advertising

blitz before the next general election which could cost pounds 5

million.



Tory insiders say that M&C Saatchi could land a budget more than twice

as big as Saatchi and Saatchi enjoyed at the 1992 election, when the

Tories spent pounds 1.5 million on posters and pounds 1.1 million on

press ads.



The plan to launch a huge anti-Labour barrage marks a U-turn by Tory

chiefs, who until recently were sceptical of the value of advertising

and were thought likely to have a budget similar to that of the 1992

campaign.



However, the Tory chairman, Brian Mawhinney, is understood to have

earmarked the money for a major drive to warn the voters that Labour

would wreck Britain’s economic recovery and cannot be trusted, despite

Tony Blair’s modernising reforms.



One Tory source said: ‘The next election will be the most closely fought

since we came to power in 1979. We are going to have to throw everything

into the pot.’



In contrast, it also emerged this week that Labour will be putting an

advertising budget of pounds 2 million through BMP DDB for its election

campaign - an amount much closer to the party’s pounds 2.6 million spend

in 1992 than the figure now being discussed by the Tories.



Under the Tories’ plan, a press and poster campaign would be launched

four months before a general election, which the Prime Minister, John

Major, hopes to delay until the spring of 1997.



One Conservative Party official said on Wednesday: ‘There will be a very

big campaign. The money is coming in. The party has got its act together

and this time will not have to pass round the begging bowl as at

previous elections.’



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