Labour and the Tory Party cut ad budget for election in 2000

The Labour and Conservative Parties spent half as much on

advertising during last year's general election between them as they did

at the 1997 election.



Accounts submitted to the new Electoral Commission reveal that Labour

spent £5.049 million on ads compared with the Tories' £4.479

million, even though the Tories were trailing badly in the opinion

polls.



Tory officials said the party had decided "not to throw good money after

bad", but the figures may also reflect the party's failure to secure

poster sites after the poll moved from May to June.



In 1997, Labour spent an estimated £7.3 million and the Tories

£13.1 million. The big drop reflects new legal limits of £15

million on campaign budgets. 1997 looks certain to prove the high-water

mark for election budgets and, with politicians increasingly sceptical

about the value of ads, party officials believe that future spending

will be in line with the 2001 figures.



Overall, the Tories spent more on last year's campaign - £12.015

million compared with Labour's £11.004 million.



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