Government slammed for spending millions on living wage advertising

The government has forked out almost £5m on ads for the National Living Wage campaign, which would pay hundreds of people's wages for the next year, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Living wage: the government reportedly spent £5m on the campaign
Living wage: the government reportedly spent £5m on the campaign

Some 372 people could be paid at the living wage rate of £7.20 an hour, Liberal Democrat research found.

The total budget allocated for the National Living Wage campaign, which will run until the end of April, is £4.95m.

The government anticipates costs of £1.7m for TV and video on demand (VOD); £751,612 for poster advertising; £354,000 for social media advertising; £520,000 for digital display and pay-per-click; £250,000 for print and £299,826 for radio.

Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, said: "It is deeply concerning that the Government is spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to push the Conservative political agenda ahead of the local elections.

"This is a bare-faced attempt to use Government funds to promote the fiction that the Conservatives have delivered a living wage."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which is overseeing the National Living Wage, said: "The government's new National Living Wage is a step up for working people, so it is important workers know their rights and that employers pay the new £7.20 from 1 April this year.

"Britain deserves a pay rise and the government is making sure it gets one."