Govt adspend set to fall 15 per cent after campaign cutbacks

The Government’s advertising budget is set to fall by up to 15 per cent in the financial year which ends next month.

The Government’s advertising budget is set to fall by up to 15 per

cent in the financial year which ends next month.



The drop is a setback for agencies and contradicts previous forecasts

that Labour ministers would maintain their high-level of spending up to

the general election.



The surprise fall will also undermine a campaign by the Tory opposition

to accuse Labour of using taxpayers’ money for party political

advertising. The Tories reacted angrily when it emerged that the ad

budget of the Central Office of Information rocketed by 79 per cent from

pounds 59 million to pounds 105.4 million in the 1998/1999 financial

year.



Whitehall estimates show that the budget will now drop to between pounds

90 million and pounds 95 million. The reason is the lower spend on big

campaigns launched in the previous year, such as preparing business for

the single currency and the New Deal programme for the jobless.



However, Whitehall officials believe the drop is a one-off and that

spending will remain broadly in line with this year’s figure over the

next two or three years.



The Tories insisted the ad budget was still at a much higher level than

under John Major’s government.



COI analysis, p14.



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