Government spend rockets by 70%

The government's annual adspend has soared to a record high of

almost £200m, according to figures published earlier this


Its £192m spend for the year ending March 2001 represents a rise

of nearly 70% on the previous 12 months.

The COI Communications annual report, which details its income from all

government marketing and public information initiatives, revealed that

Whitehall's total communications spend, which also includes disciplines

such as market research, sponsorship and direct marketing, smashed the

£200m barrier for the first time, to reach £295m.

The spend cements the government's status among the UK's biggest

advertisers, putting it just behind Unilever, which spent £197.9m

during the same period, and ahead of Procter & Gamble (£132.7m),

according to figures from ACNielsen MMS.

The massive increase, which is sure to spark renewed Opposition protests

about misuse of taxpayers' money, was fuelled by a glut of controversial

projects, including campaigns to tackle benefit fraud and inform the

public of their holiday entitlement.

The Home Office, whose activity included a police recruitment drive

costing more than £5m, saw the biggest spending hike of any

department, with an increase of about 300% to £28.4m.

The Department of Social Security, Department for Education and

Employment, Ministry of Defence, Department of Health and Inland Revenue

also spent substantially more on marketing than the previous year.

The Department of Trade and Industry and Department of the Environment,

Transport and the Regions laid out less than in 1999 to 2000.

Separately, the COI expects to announce its first dedicated media

planning agency roster in the next fortnight. The results of its other

roster reviews will be unveiled in late-August.


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