St Luke's lands COI task

- St Luke's has landed a £2.5 million campaign to promote a flagship Government scheme to boost the incomes of five million families with children.

- St Luke's has landed a £2.5 million campaign to promote a flagship Government scheme to boost the incomes of five million families with children.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown has ordered an urgent last-minute push to publicise the Children's Tax Credit, which takes effect in April, amid concern that many families may miss out on generous top-ups to their wage packets.

St Luke's handled a low-key £1.5 million press campaign on the benefit for the Inland Revenue last year but the new blitz is expected to use television as well as press. The agency won the extension without a repitch because ministers were happy with last year's work and because time was short.

The credit could be worth £520 a year for families and has been attacked as a "pre-election tax bribe" by the Liberal Democrats.

However, it could be difficult for both the Lib Dems and Tories to criticise the new ad campaign because they have expressed concern that many people appear unaware of the new benefit.

Steve Webb, the Lib Dems' spokesman on social security, said only 2.5 million of the 8 million forms sent out by the Inland Revenue last year has been returned.

He said: "The Government announced its plans to bring in this new credit nearly two years ago, yet it has still failed to find nearly half the eligible families. This bureaucratic bungle means millions of families may miss out on the money they are entitled to."

David Willetts, the Tory spokesman on welfare, said: "Despite spending millions on advertising, Labour is not delivering its complicated new tax credits and families are losing £2.6 billion as a result."



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