Tories slams COI spend and promises cuts

The Conservative Party has again lambasted Government spending on marketing and communications at a time of economic crisis, standing by its promise that it would slash ad budgets under a government led by David Cameron (pictured).

Shadow Treasury chief secretary Philip Hammond has repeated a previous pledge to free up cash to allow council tax rates to be frozen.

Hammond was responding to the revelation this week that the Government’s marketing and communications spend jumped by almost half to £540m in 2008/09.

Issues such as obesity, smoking, climate change and the recession pushed spending up 43% year on year in the 12 months to the end of March, the Central Office of Information (COI) reported.

The figures mean the Government is now the UK’s biggest advertiser by spend.

Hammond condemned the increase, telling Marketing Week: “Government spending on advertising and marketing is soaring at a time when businesses are cutting back. A Conservative administration would slash government advertising – and use the savings to freeze council tax for hard-pressed families.”

COI says the enormous leap in spend has been driven by increased centralisation of spend by government departments and the Government’s move to follow audiences online. Digital marketing spend increased 84% to £40m during the year.

COI chief executive Mark Lund adds: “The need for Government to communicate with the public is greater than ever as society faces challenges such as obesity and climate change.”

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