The Government's spending on advertising is expected to rise by 35
per cent to pounds 80 million in the current financial year.
The Central Office of Information expects its ad budget to increase from
pounds 59 million in 1997-98 to pounds 80 million in the year to
The big rise will provoke allegations by the opposition that the
Government is spending taxpayers' money to promote the policies of the
Labour Party. A Tory source said: 'We will be demanding an explanation
for such a huge increase. The money would be better spent on providing
hard-pressed services such as health and education, rather than trying
to improve the Government's image.'
Before the 1997 general election, senior Labour figures claimed the
party would spend money on different ad campaigns from the Tories
without boosting the overall budget.
A COI spokesperson said: 'The pattern of spending has not really changed
except for the recognition that for major projects with ambitious
objectives, substantial budgets are required.'
Examples include the pounds 9.3 million New Deal campaign by St Luke's;
the pounds 5.9 million push on the millennium computer bug through FCA!
and the pounds 4.5 million campaign by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer to prepare
British business for the single currency.
The year-on-year increase has been artificially boosted in percentage
terms by a lower spend in 1997-98, partly due to a 12-week moratorium
around the general election.
However, the forecast budget is likely to be the COI's highest for seven
years. In 1991-92, the Tories spent pounds 83 million, after which the
annual figures were pounds 47 million, pounds 63 million, pounds 55
million, pounds 63 million, pounds 69 million and pounds 59 million last
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