Tories slam 33% rise in blizzard of government adspend

LONDON - The Tories have accused the government of using taxpayers' money to boost its image, after adspend rose by more than a third in the first eight months of the year, writes Jennifer Whitehead.

The government spent £62.7m on advertising across government departments between January and August, a rise of 33.8% on last year's figure for the same period of £46.8m. This includes a rise in internet advertising of almost 60% to £1.125m.

Some of the biggest advertising campaigns run by the government this year include a recruitment campaign for the Teacher Training Agency created by McCann-Erickson Manchester, and work by M&C Saatchi to promote the child tax credit.

The shadow secretary for culture, media and sport, John Whittingdale, said that the government had squandered £15m on advertising, while public services and pensions are in crisis.

"What people want is concerted action to solve the problems of our public services, to tackle the pensions crisis and to make us feel safe on our streets. Instead, all they get is a blizzard of advertising designed to con us into believing that they know what they are doing," he said.

The figures, from Nielsen Media Research, examine spending by COI Communications, the government agency that looks after advertising.

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