I managed to miss the publication of the Central Office of Information’s annual report on 31st July. This is one of those bits of government information which they like to let out quietly as the figures are so embarrassing. With other things to think about in the summer I missed the publication. Anyway I have caught up with them now.
The COI basically is a clearing house for government advertising and other “marketing” activities. Their “turnover” is what government departments spend on ads and other marketing activities. There are benefits to this central purchasing both in saving on bulk purchasing and in making it more obvious for us to spot.
The figures for the last 14 years are shown below in the bar chart. It shows quite starkly how this spending has TREBLED under New Labour.
Note these figures are all comparable and account for the hokey-cokey, in-out movement of the media monitoring activities. These went to the Cabinet Office in 2002 and came back in 2005.
Whatever you think of the Major government it is quite clear that it did not misbehave with government ad spending around the 1997 election. Under New Labour ad spending almost trebled to £295 million in time for the 2001 election and has stayed at these dizzy heights ever since. Another peak for the 2005 elections is also apparent.