Conservative Party Calls for Inquiry into Government Adspend

27 July 2001

Britain’s Conservative Party has demanded a full-scale inquiry into an alleged rise in adspend by the Labour government in the run-up to June’s General Election.

The Tories have called on the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the parliamentary body which watches over spending, to investigate whether the government deliberately increased advertising before the election – which the Conservatives lost by a landslide – in a bid to win votes. They also demanded that the Cabinet Office ensure such a rise in spend does not occur in the run-up to future elections.

The government became the second largest advertiser in the country behind Unilever in the year to March. According to the annual report of the government’s marketing unit COI Communications, total adspend jumped 70% from £113.5m in the previous twelve months to a record £192.4 million.

The last financial year saw TV ad expenditure more than double from £40.4m to £84.7m, while radio jumped from £8.5m to £20.4m, press from £36m to £44.3m and poster from £6.7m to £8.1m.

“[Spending was] significantly higher than planned,” admitted COI. “There were new initiatives in areas such as rights and benefits, health and safety, education and training, plus recruitment campaigns for a variety of uniformed services.”

News source: CampaignLive (UK)