The Government boosted its advertising budget by 7 per cent in the
past year, prompting fresh criticism from the Conservative Party that
Labour is ’all presentation and no substance’.
COI Communications has disclosed that the adspend of Whitehall
departments rose from pounds 105.4 million to pounds 113.4 million in
the financial year that ended in March.
The rise continued the hike in the ad budget since Labour came to power,
and shows that the 79 per cent rise of the previous year was not a
one-off. The Conservatives spent pounds 69 million in their last year in
The Conservatives renewed their demands for a value-for-money probe of
Labour’s ad spending, claiming some campaigns should have been funded by
the Labour Party rather than by taxpayers. ’We know from the leaked
memos that Blair’s advisers say he is all spin. These huge figures show
how the public is paying for it,’ a Tory source said.
COI’s annual report reveals that the departments that increased their
spending in the past financial year included the Home Office (up by 135
per cent), the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
(73 per cent), the Inland Revenue (65 per cent), Health (45 per cent)
and Trade and Industry (26 per cent). Those that cut their budgets
included the Department of Education and Employment and the MoD.
COI’s spending on direct marketing and promotions rose from pounds 21.2
million to pounds 35.1 million in the past year, while its budget on
publications and digital media increased from pounds 21.9 million to
pounds 25.6 million.
Carol Fisher, COI’s chief executive, said: ’While the bulk of this
year’s activity was centred on the traditional media, and will probably
continue to be for some time yet, there was a marked increase in the use
of digital media, where there was a threefold increase over last year’s