Tory fury over massive increase in Govt adspend

The Government's spending on advertising is expected to rise by 35 per cent to pounds 80 million in the current financial year.

The Government's spending on advertising is expected to rise by 35

per cent to pounds 80 million in the current financial year.



The Central Office of Information expects its ad budget to increase from

pounds 59 million in 1997-98 to pounds 80 million in the year to

March.



The big rise will provoke allegations by the opposition that the

Government is spending taxpayers' money to promote the policies of the

Labour Party. A Tory source said: 'We will be demanding an explanation

for such a huge increase. The money would be better spent on providing

hard-pressed services such as health and education, rather than trying

to improve the Government's image.'



Before the 1997 general election, senior Labour figures claimed the

party would spend money on different ad campaigns from the Tories

without boosting the overall budget.



A COI spokesperson said: 'The pattern of spending has not really changed

except for the recognition that for major projects with ambitious

objectives, substantial budgets are required.'



Examples include the pounds 9.3 million New Deal campaign by St Luke's;

the pounds 5.9 million push on the millennium computer bug through FCA!

and the pounds 4.5 million campaign by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer to prepare

British business for the single currency.



The year-on-year increase has been artificially boosted in percentage

terms by a lower spend in 1997-98, partly due to a 12-week moratorium

around the general election.



However, the forecast budget is likely to be the COI's highest for seven

years. In 1991-92, the Tories spent pounds 83 million, after which the

annual figures were pounds 47 million, pounds 63 million, pounds 55

million, pounds 63 million, pounds 69 million and pounds 59 million last

year.



Live Issue, p10.





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