Tories promise adspend cuts

LONDON - The Tories have promised to bring in a new code of conduct to limit ad campaigns by the Government if they win the next general election.

Government ads...Tories promise to slash costs
Government ads...Tories promise to slash costs
In a Commons debate, the Tories argued a new code was needed to ensure “impartiality and accuracy” in campaigns run by Whitehall departments as part of a plan to restore public trust in politics.

Francis Maude, the Shadow Cabinet member responsible for drawing up the Conservative Opposition’s agenda for government, said: “Advertising costs have spiralled. The Government has spent £800 million on advertising in the past five years alone. The annual spend has quadrupled since Labour came to power.”

Maude claimed the high adspend was not an “overhang” from the Blair era, because the budget had risen by four times the rate of inflation since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister last year.

But Labour ministers argued the spend should be welcomed because it had saved lives through campaigns on
issues such as smoking, drink-driving and road safety.

A call by the Tories for the Committee on Standards in Public Life to draw up a new code for government advertising immediately was rejected.